Friday, November 22, 2019

Agric Minister Cries for Investment to Uplift Rural Farmers: While Marking World Food Day

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By Momodou Jarju

The Minister of Agriculture, Mrs. Amie Fabureh, has called for more investment in rural development through small holder farmers which is geared towards enhancing the socio-economic lives and the livelihoods of farmers.

Speaking at the commemoration of “World Food Day and International Day of Rural Women” at Brikama on Wednesday, Minister Fabureh said the Barrow-led government through the National Development Plan and the second-generation national investment plan will make agriculture and food systems become more resilient, productive, inclusive and sustainable.

“This will strengthen food security in a changing climate as the country is ready to address and overcome challenges in food security and agriculture and enshrined in the national development Plan, policies and programs” she said at the event, held at the office of the Governor of West Coast Region in Brikama.

The theme for the event was “Our Actions Are Our Future. Healthy Diets For A #Zero Hunger World.”

Speaking further, Fabureh said in this year’s celebration, every country in the world is reminded of its political commitment to humanity, the eradication of all forms of malnutrition and raising awareness to accomplish zero hunger by 2030.

“However, we are aware of the huge challenges that face our countries in our drive to end hunger as malnutrition continues to be a major public health problem, with the most vulnerable groups being women and children, the majority of whom live in rural areas,” she said.

Fabureh said the government is committed and firmly believes that the idea of zero hunger is broad and limited to the fight against undernourishment, adding that zero hunger encompasses the eradication of all forms of malnutrition, so it is not just about feeding people but nourishing people as well.

“To this end, government intends to transform the above potentials into sustain agricultural growth and below are some of the actions to be taken.

An updated sector policy to create an enabling environment for a private sector-led agriculture growth and transformation.

  1. Sustainable intensification of livestock production, irrigation, mechanization, timely availability of quality inputs, animal feed and vaccine and market to name few.
  2. An enabling business environment for commercial agriculture and agri-business.
  3. Modernizing and diversifying agriculture as the main source of livelihood and employment for many Gambians.
  4. Resource the weak inter-sectoral collaboration underdeveloped synergies prevalent in the sector. That means we have to come together, work together so that at least we can succeed.
  5. Create the conducive environment for private sector participation in agriculture, given its cooperative advantage in agriculture financing.
  6. Make financing of agriculture investment attractive by reducing high cost of borrowing.
  7. Promote the use of research, technology and the extension services.
  8. Promote innovative rain water harvest and irrigation and avoid reliance on rainfall for agriculture production.”

The Food and Agriculture (FAO) Country Representative, Shibu Rampedi, said more efforts are needed to ensure everybody has a healthy diet while urging all and sundry to be active in this direction.

“The challenge to ensure everybody gets a healthy diet is a worldwide challenge and this includes The Gambia where we often find that hunger and obesity often co-exist,” she said.

She added that they are assisting farmers to consider the use of solar energy to assist them in farming.

A display of vegetables and ‘made in The Gambia’ foods by women was part of the program’s highlight, plus cultural display. Farmers from across the country were present.

About World Food Day

World Food Day is celebrated every year across the world on 16th October. It’s an annual celebration in honour of the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organisation launched by the United Nations in the year 1945. World Food Day is celebrated widely with great enthusiasm by several other organisations which are concerned with food security such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Food Programme and others.

FAO said in its website this year’s World. Food Day calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat.

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