Thursday, June 7, 2012


30 MAY 2012


WE THE FARMERS ORGANIZATIONS of the Republic of the Gambia, meeting here in Janjabureh, in the Central Region of the country in a National Farmers Conference from 29 – 30 May 2012, and with the full mandate of all the registered Organizations in the country, including the present Apex bodies of these organizations:

RECOGNIZING the high importance of farmers organizations in the economy of the country in general, and the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR)  sector in particular, essentially as potential tools with which to facilitate the organization of farmers into entities, forge partnerships with sources of support, provide platforms for dialogues with Government and Development Partners, through which they could effectively obtain advantages from advocacy, negotiations, mobilization of resources, communication, securing cost effective goods and services that will enhance their enterprises and achieve the best of options for themselves and their connections;

RECALLING that Farmers Organizations have been established, and such organizations are registered, functional and operational in various parts of the country, under various orientations;

HAVING REALIZED that for such Organizations to be effective, basic needs and requirements have to be met, such as physical assets including: offices, office furniture, communication equipment, mobility; financial resources to secure and or produce goods and services the benefit of their clients; human resources with knowledge and skills to carry out the prescribed activities of the Organizations and produce the required results

HAVING EXPERIENCED that the sources from which these Organizations obtain resources to meet the needs and requirements for them to be functional and operational are largely from their membership constituents, the majority of which have very limited financial capacities to make generous contributions to their Organizations; and that other sources of financial support to the Organizations are few and far between

CONSIDERING also that the prevailing environment in the economy of the country, and the high demands on the sector for it to raise its performance to meet national priorities of Vision 2020, the Millennium Development Goals, particularly halving hunger by 2015, and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), all require farmers and operators in the ANR sector to be more cohesive, inter-linked, united engaging and expanding economies of scale among themselves especially for mechanization,  irrigation, marketing, trade and pricing; and that such requirements could best be met through Farmers Organizations:

TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION that the Government has established the first Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy in the country, and that the policy has clearly elaborated the importance of Farmers Organizations in the country, and made provisions to achieve clear objectives for such agents in the sector, especially:
Farmers Organizations will be facilitated to be well and formally organised, with appropriate capacities to manage their enterprises and develop and maintain effective institutional performance, including planning, negotiating, communicating and networking, transforming themselves into formal institutions, building partnerships; facilitating the mobilization of resources”;

Noting the above,


EXTEND SINCERE CONGRATUALTIONS to the Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Chiekh, Professor, Alhaji, Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh for the initiative to organise and hold this National Farmers Conference, as we consider it to be timely, when farmers should be at the height of their vocations to take advantage of the various opportunities that are now available for the sector, with high demands for staple food commodities; expanding high value markets, both internal and external, within the sub region and the global space; 
THANK MOST SINCERELY the Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Chiekh, Professor, Alhaji, Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, through the Hon. Solomon Owens, Minister for Agriculture, for inviting the Farmers Organizations to participate in this historic event of the first National Farmers Conference;

THANK ALSO MOST PROFOUNDLY, the Government of the Gambia Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Chiekh, Professor, Alhaji, Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh for its persistence and commitment to formulate and present the Gambia Agriculture and Food Security Programme, (GAFSP), with the support of the FAO and other Development Partners, and most importantly, congratulate it for the approval of the Programme this May 2012 in Washington, USA, , with the strong  influence of International Farmers Associations Network including ROPPA

RECALL WITH GRATITUDE the BACK TO THE LAND CLARION CALL of H. E. the President of the Republic of the Gambia Chiekh, Professor, Alhaji, Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, which inspired farmers and    Farmers Organizations to adopt the slogan “EAT WHAT WE GROW AND GROW WHAT WE EAT”

AFFIRM the concerted support of the Farmers Organizations for the Government’s current policy and programme frameworks for the sector, especially the new ANR sector policy; the Gambia National Agriculture Investment Plan (GNAIP), and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE). We believe they reflect appropriately the urgent demands in the sector, especially widespread dissemination of improved technologies such as affordable mechanization, irrigation, high quality seeds and germ plasm, agro-chemicals, strengthened farmers groups, associations, organizations and their Apex Bodies

AFFIRM ALSO our commitment as Farmers Organizations and representatives of small holder farmers to work with the Government, our membership, partners and all relevant stakeholders in a transparent and accountable manner to ensure:
 - Increased participation of farmers in decision making processes of the policy frameworks of the Government
- The development of sustainable mechanisms for availability and affordability of farming inputs for farmers, such as fertilizers, seeds, and farming tools and equipment
- The development of the capacities of farmers particularly in relation to factors that limit marketing opportunities and entrepreneurship development
- The development of sustainable long term solutions to end crop failures and food shortages in The Gambia
-The development of mechanisms to build the resilience of farmers and communities in occurrences of food crises and emergency situations
- That research in the ANR sector meets the current needs of farmers and operators in the sector;


-       Work towards getting a Rights to Food Legislation as contained in the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Rights to Food
-       Continue to attain the commitment in the Maputo Declaration of allocating at least 10% of National Budget to Agriculture
-       Build capacities of small holder farmers, particularly women farmers  and youths in order to sustain the achievement of sustainable household food security;

COMMIT ourselves to:
-  pursue a transparent and accountable process of managing the organizations of farmers in the country;
- align our interventions and resources to complement national programmes for farmers in the Gambia as contained in national policy and programme frameworks including: the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan (GNAIP), and the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) policy;

REQUEST Government to urgently set up mechanisms for dialogue between the Farmers Organizations and the Government, Development Partners; Private sector businesses concerns, essentially to enhance the opportunities of the Farmers Organizations to be:

Reliably functional; efficiently operational and improve their performance in a number of areas, including:
- strengthening their capacities (improved knowledge, skills and facilities) to enable them to provide appropriate and efficient services to their members
- increasing registration and expand the networks of farmers groups, organizations and Union, and building the capacities of these clients for self reliant development and investment
- mobilizing resources for programmes, plans, and Initiatives
- intensify their Advocacy for support to farmers and their connections;
- establishing linkages and forge partnerships between farmers and sources of support, especially Government and Development Partners
- participating in all stages of conception, planning, programming, resources mobilization, delivery and monitoring of high level projects in the ANR sector
- participating in developing and establishing pricing policies and investment codes; creation of niche and new markets for agricultural commodities
- extending the information outreach on recent developments research, markets, policy orientations that have high implications for farmers and operators in the ANR sector
- determining the nature and scope of involvement of Farmers Organizations in the delivery of major frameworks and activities in the sector;
FURTHER ENCOURAGE the Government to facilitate the setting up and or strengthening existing mechanisms for providing cost-effective, affordable and sustainable Financial Services for farmers and operators in the ANR sector, such as:

- CREDIT facilities for operating enterprises, development and investment 


- REVOLVING FUNDS in projects


REQUEST the Government to revitalise existing structures such as the ANR Working Group, the Select Committee of the General Assembly with oversight responsibility on the ANR sector to review and take follow up actions on the Declarations and outcomes from this Conference.


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