The Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Demba Sabally, on Friday 23 September 2022 launched the African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF) supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to The Gambia through the Rice Value Chain Transformation Project (RVCTP).
The AEFPF is an additional financing that follows the joint meeting of the ministers of Agriculture and of Finance of the African Union on the African Emergency Food Production plan in which The Gambia participated.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Dr. Sabally informed the gathering that the government of The Gambia is taking major strides to transform the Agriculture sector in addressing food security and meeting the nutritional needs of its people.
"Despite these efforts, The Gambia's high dependence on imports for staple and key commodities has deepened the country's vulnerability to external shocks such as the effect of Covid-19 and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the food supply system" he stressed.
He elaborated that the AEFPF is the African Development Bank's newly approved rapid response framework to address the food crisis and distribution of the supply of critical inputs for food production arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Having been aware of the existence of this facility, Dr. Sabally stated that the government of The Gambia requested additional financing under the African Emergency Food Production Facility to mitigate the effects of the external shocks and enable the government to meet the country's food production for 2022 and 2023.
He further revealed that it is under the same facility that funds have been allocated to support the Ministry of Agriculture to formulate a National Fertiliser Policy and a strategy that would lay the ground on the way forward to implement the much-needed smart subsidy for fertiliser.
Also speaking at the launching ceremony, Rebecca Dadzie, a senior agribusiness officer, AfDB, reminded the gathering that the government of the Gambia has taken major steps in meeting food and nutritional security over the past few years, especially in the production of greens.
She added: "Everyone is suffering from the current Russia-Ukraine crisis and the government has not been left out which has caused an increase or hike in the price of input across the global market".
"In response to the ongoing crisis, the African Development Bank set up an Africa Emergency Food Production Facility to support countries across the continent to ensure the continuous production of food and also with the provision of quality certified seeds and inputs for the smallholders to ensure the continuous production of food for the 2022 and 2023 season," she revealed.
According to the senior agribusiness officer at AfDB, upon the request from the government of The Gambia, they had to intervene because The Gambia is a strategic partner for the AfDB which is why they had to step in to support the country to urgently meet its food production for 2022 and 2023.
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