By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture signed US$6.2 million (approximately 280 million dalasis) project Agreement with The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Friday 10th 2017, at the Conference room of the Agriculture Ministry in Banjul. The four-year GEF funded project entitled ‘‘Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change in the Gambia’’ is designed to strengthen diversified and sustainable livelihood strategies for reducing the impacts of climate variability and change in Agriculture and Livestock sector.
The FAO representative said the project is to promote sustainable and diversified livelihood strategies for reducing the impacts of climate variability and change in the agriculture and livestock sector. The project will be implemented in 4 years with a total budget of $6.2 million (D279, 620,000).
The world’s natural sectors, including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, face many challenges in meeting the food requirements of an ever increasing population –such as intensive competition for water resources and a degrading environment compounded by changing climate”.
She noted that Smallholder farmers, forest dwellers, herders and fisher folks are often the most affected by climate change because of their limited capacity to adapt to its impact. “The project we are signing today will immensely benefit these groups to strengthen their adaptation capacity,” she pointed out.
The Minister of Agriculture, Omar .A Jallow, said: “The Gambia like many other developing countries in Africa and particularly the sahelian countries is faced with enormous environmental challenges including to name a few: land soil degradation, deforestation, drought and floors which have direct negative consequences to agricultural production and productivity . these problems are further compounded by negative effects of climate change, which calls for concerted effort from all stakeholders in the drive to adapt to and to mitigate against its impact in order to enhance food security and sustained income for livelihood improvement of the population”
He indicated that the project targets 5000 households in 10 districts in North Bank, Central River and Upper River Regions, regions that are most vulnerable and exposed to climate impacts, with no access or low access to information, knowledge and education and fewer resources (assets and income).
“The project seeks to reduce poverty of rural households, for security and malnutrition through increased agricultural production and productivity and commercialization by strengthening the livelihood and resilience of the targeted households and farming systems. In addition, the project aims not only to diversify agricultural production towards more drought tolerant crops but it will also promote and support livelihood alternative,” the agriculture minister noted.