26 August 2014

Gambia: Agric Minister Praises Ifad President

The minister of Agriculture Solomon Owens has praised the visiting president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), saying that his leadership in IFAD's efforts to address and eliminate global hunger and poverty is highly-recognised.

"Again, for The Gambia, there has also been a steady growth in funding under your leadership with the recent launch of the NEMA project and Cory, as well as the soon to be launched platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM)," Solomon Owens said, during a ministerial meeting with Dr. Nwanze.

Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze was on a two-day visit to The Gambia, after a special invitation has been extended to him, by the Gambian leader His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhajie Dr. Yahya A.J.J Jammeh Nasirudeen Babili Mansa.

During his stay in the country, Nwanze was availed the opportunity to meet the UN country team, the President and Vice-President of the Republic of The Gambia, cabinet ministers, Alkalolu, private sector members and some rural farmers in his field trip to the provincial areas.

One of the reasons of his coming to the country was to strengthen The Gambia-IFAD partnership, while enhancing efforts to transform the country's subsistence agriculture into economically successful and sustainable agro-enterprises.

Minister Owens maintained that IFAD's recent approach to development of Agriculture sector is scaling up of proven strategies. As a result of this, he pointed out that a new project in The Gambia known in the Mandinka language as NEMA; meaning prosperity has been scaled up on achievements made over 30 years, in partnership with smallholder farmers.

"The project is expected to develop 2000-hectre of tidal irrigation fields facilitating year round rice production and establish 48 (5 Ha) garden schemes, equipped with solar-power year-round irrigation facilities for women and youth engaged in vegetable gardening," the Agric miniter stated.

He indicated that the project would support the establishment of 60 small and medium enterprises to serve as actors in the agricultural value-chain.

He further applauded Gambian leader's intervention, in collaboration with the IFAD's president which eventually led to designing and developing the system.

The Agric minister informed that a significant proportion of the population of the Sahel is affected by chronic food insecurity, due to un-predictable climate variations, causing droughts and floods throughout the region.

The increased in the frequency of these extreme phenomena and rising food prices in recent years, he said, has necessitated the establishment of early warning and robust monitoring of agricultural production system.

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