Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Gambia declares 2011-2012 Farming Season a failure
DAILY OBSERVER- The government of The Gambia through the Office of the minister of Agriculture has declared 2011-2012 farming season a failure resulting from severe crop failures and a corresponding soaring of food prices.
According to a media release from the Ministry, signed by Permanent Secretary Ada Gaye, the post-harvest assessment of the 2011 farming season, which was characterised by below normal and poorly distributed rainfall, indicated a reduction in total crop production of more than 70%.
In response to this emerging crisis, according to the release, the government of The Gambia is mobilising all available emergency funds for immediate action to assist the most affected, and calls on the international community and NGOs to assist in addressing current needs and preventing further deterioration of the situation.
Below is the full text of the release:
The Government of The Gambia through the Office of the Minister of Agriculture declares 2011-2012 farming season a failure resulting from severe crop failures and a corresponding soaring of food prices.
On behalf of the people of The Gambia and the National Council on Disaster and Food Security, I respectfully bring to your attention the plight of Gambian farming families who depend entirely on rain-fed farming for their basic livelihood. The post-harvest assessment of the 2011 farming season, which was characterized by below normal and poorly distributed rainfall, indicated a reduction in total crop production of more than 70%. Very poor harvests, varying from nothing harvested in some of the villages and regions to unsatisfactory harvests of rice, groundnuts, millets, maize and sorghum in others, could barely guarantee self-provisioning of 2 months. In an average year, self-provisioning is put at 4-6 months.
This poor harvest is also exacerbated by the soaring world food prices, which in turn have resulted in the rapid depletion of household incomes. While food stocks in some of the major markets/areas are still at an acceptable level, price increases are progressively becoming a severe strain on the incomes of poor households and hence their access to food.
In response to this emerging crisis, the Government of The Gambia is mobilizing all available emergency funds for immediate action to assist the most affected, and hereby calls on the International community and NGOs to assist in addressing current needs and preventing further deterioration of the situation.
A post-harvest assessment report has been prepared identifying food, seed and farm inputs deficit for the upcoming 2012 cropping season. Government intends to start in earnest a seed multiplication program for the main food and cash crops, and provide general relief food distributions to the entire farming population particularly those in the hardest hit regions and districts.
The resources urgently needed to realize the above is well beyond what the national capability can guarantee and thus our resort to ask for external help from our friends and development partners. National Seeds requirement is put at 25, 000 MT valued at US$10 Million. Fertilizer requirement is estimated at 37, 500 MT valued at US$8 Million and Food Relief is estimated at 40, 000 MT valued at US$5 Million.
Excellencies, the current situation poses a serious threat to both food security and nutrition security which in turn will negatively impact the Gambia’s socio-economic development considering our serious resource constraint to address them. Accordingly, we join our sister affected Sahelian countries in declaring the 2011-2012 cropping season, one of severe crop failure.