28 February 2013

Gambia: National Network for Food Policies On Monitoring and Evaluation Formed

A National network for food policies on monitoring & evaluation was recently formed by stakeholders at a forum held at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Kololi from the 20th to 21st February 2013.

The workshop, organised by CILLS, is aimed at creating the conditions for a structural food security based primarily on the systematic mobilisation and sustainable use of food resources in the sub-region. It is also aimed at building capacity for prevention and management of food and nutrition crisis.

Speaking at the ceremony, the representative of the Executive Secretary of CILLS, Gilbert Zongo, thanked the government of The Gambia through the dynamic leadership of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh for creating the enabling environment for the conduction of the workshop. He said the workshop is meant to strengthen and develop strategies to produce food for all the Sahelian and member countries. He informed the participants that the food security initiative started since 2007 and it also includes the setting up of a network for combating food insecurity. The goal of the network, he added, is to assure access for all Gambians to sufficient food quality that allows them to satisfy their energy needs and to lead a healthy life by 2020.It is also complemented by the Sahelian goal to ensure sustainable food security and reduce poverty and inequalities in the Sahel by 2015.

Zongo told the participants that at the end of the presentation, they will be divided into groups where they shall look at the indicators and identify the most suitable indicators matching the strategies provided in each strategic area and also match institutions to be in charge of such undertaking.

In his welcoming remarks, Abdoulie Danso, the DPS for CONASILLS, reassured the participants of the government of The Gambia's continuous support in the creation of an enabling environment to carry such undertakings. He added that indicators are used to be able to measure and combat food insecurity needs, therefore strategies are needed to develop mechanisms for food security.

He said this is because food security cuts across all sectors of the economy and therefore it requires the mobilisation of resources and inter-governmental interventions in other to diversify agriculture. He added that building capacity and taking stock of all requirements are needed in the attainment of these objectives.

Danso stressed that the government of The Gambia's programme "grow what you eat and eat what you grow" is in connection to food security issues, while assuring the workshop that the government of The Gambia is truly in support of the initiative.

Fafanding Fatajo of the Department of Planning Services Unit, who presented a paper on the National Food Security Strategy of The Gambia, said it is a major challenge for all member countries.

He further stated that developing strategies to overcome food security is needed and the outcome is key as far as food security is concern.

"While reiterating that the acquisition of land water and soil sustainability should also be considered in order to attain the aforementioned, access to seeds and fertilizer by the vulnerable population should be considered, as well as develop measures to combat them," he added.

Abba Sankareh and Yaya Jallow chaired the ceremony.

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