3 December 2012

Gambia: Activista Hands Over the Women Farmers' Demands to NAMs

Activista the Gambia, the Youth Arm of ActionAid the Gambia that Advocate the ending of hunger and poverty in the Gambia, has on Thursday 29th of November 2012, handed over the Women farmers' demands to the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture at the Banjul City Council headquarters in Banjul.

The Women farmers' demands were collected by the Activista during a journey they embarked from the 12th to the 17th of October 2012 for 'hunger free Gambia' in which they visited all the regions of the country and dialogue with the farmers.

The Women farmers' demand Card that was handed over to the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture contained the lamentation of the women in terms of lack of control of land, lack of ownership, inadequate farm implements and high cost of farm inputs among others.

In receiving the Women farmers' demand Card on behalf of the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture, the Vice Chairman of the Select Committee Hon. Bafaye Saidykhan, asserted that he is pleased to receive the demand card on behalf of the Select Committee on Agriculture.

He noted that the points raised are pertinent issues which need to be looked into in order to boost Agriculture in the Gambia.

With regard to land, Hon. Saidykhan noted that land issues are dealt with under the customary laws which are contained and protected by the 1997 constitution and that to properly address the issue, there is need to dialogue with the local Authorities.

He said there is need for women to have control and ownership of land since they are producers of the food that we eat.

In terms of the Maputo declaration, Hon Saidykhan asserted that now is the right time since they are about to review the budget and that he would convince his colleagues with regard to the allocation of the 10 percent of the National budget to Agriculture.

In terms of the cost of farm inputs, Hon. Saidykhan said there is need to reduce of cost of farm inputs particularly fertilizer. He said the cost of fertilizer is too expensive and that one needs four bags of fertilizer for a hectare of land.

He concluded by saying that Government alone cannot do it but that Non-government Organisations should join and invest in Agriculture.

During the occasion, a video documentary was shown to the Select Committee on Agriculture in which the women lamented how their 50 hectares rice field was taken from them by the Alkalo of their village, how 300 women are using four wells due to lack of access to expand to Garden to dig more wells, how landowners eject them from their land after developing the land for many years etc, etc.

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