The Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday 13 January 2020 inked a USD480,000 project at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Agriculture conference room in Banjul. The funding was provided by FAO under the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) entitled: 'Mapping of the Human Resources Capacity Gap and Strengthening Capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture.'
Speaking at the ceremony, the FAO representative in The Gambia, Madam Shibu Rampedi, said the world cannot afford to be the generation that does not address hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. Madam Rampedi said the United Nations is this year launching what she called a Decade of Action to end hunger. She called on political leaders to act by implementing the Maputo Declaration for Africa and promoting the Zero Hunger campaign.
"... food security is not charity, but the indispensable means for realising the right to food and nutrition security," Madam Rampedi said. The FAO country representative pointed out that her organisation is committed to supporting Member States by providing data and information analysis based on its technical expertise and long experience. She reiterated FAO's commitment to work with the government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Agriculture and partners in shaping the future with a lasting impact.
"We will support The Gambia by providing technical expertise on food and agriculture, forestry and fisheries ... to achieve the National Development Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals," Rampedi promised.
The FAO country representative said the two years TCP would strengthen the capacities in the Planning Service Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and also pave the way to access resources from the government and funds in trust with development agencies. The programme is also expected to lay a foundation for enhanced system development of skills and knowledge in various specialised disciplines as well as agreement with other developments in the Agriculture and Natural Resources sector.
The Honorable Minister for Agriculture Amie Fabureh, applauded FAO for its foresight. She said data has always been a challenge in agriculture, and according to her, the ministry wants to transform agriculture into commercialised business. Hon. Fabureh highlighted that without a full-fledged planning department, it would be difficult to have sufficiency in food production.
The ceremony was chaired by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture Momodou Mbaye Jabang and attended by senior officials from both the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO.