A three-day workshop for the recently launched US$34M National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (NEMA) Thursday wrapped-up at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
The synergy, organised under the aegis of the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), whofunded the project, brought together farmers and participants from all six regions of The Gambia.
NEMA is a seven-year project that would build on the achievements and experience of the earlier IFAD-supported projects in the same sector, including the three ongoing projects; i.e; the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP), with AfDB and GEF; the Rural Finance Project (RFP); and the Livestock and Horticulture Development Programme (LHDP).
The project will address IFAD's strategic objectives of assisting poor rural women and men to develop their skills and organisations to take advantage of improved agricultural technologies and effective production services, competitive agricultural input and produce markets, a range of financial services, and rural off-farm employment and enterprise development opportunities. The project will support The Gambia government's strategic vision for growth and development through strengthening the agricultural sector. Furthermore, it aims to contribute to the overall goal of reducing poverty among rural women and youths.
In his closing statement, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Modou K. Secka, said theworkshop was meant among other things, to enhance understanding among stakeholders about the project objective and programmes. He stressed that it is important for stakeholders to be given the opportunity to meet and interact with a view to understanding the issues at hand.
"I believe after discussing the project for three days we are better now than before," he stated, while reiterating that the synergy was also meant to identify and discuss together as to how they can reinforce the mitigation measures. "NEMA project alone is bigger than the three ongoing projects put together. It is quite significant and all of us should give maximum support to avoid pitfalls," he said.
IFAD's country programme manager, Moses Abukari, said the whole process has been overwhelming with commitment from the government; something he said shows the level of cooperation that IFAD has with The Gambia. "We appreciate the ownership of the farmers and participants from other six regions in the country," he concluded.