Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Endeavour to share information, ensure transparency amongst project team, implementing agencies and beneficiaries- Jammeh

Ousman Jammeh with his IPAD shortly after delivering his speech

At a colourful and well attended second ‘Dialogue Forum’ organized by the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project, Nema, Agricultural Regional Director, West Coast Region, Mr. Ousman Jammeh on behalf of his department, expressed his personal and joyous greetings from the Regional Agricultural Directorate of the West Coast Region.

The Nema is a seven-year (2013 to 2019) project designed to build on the achievements and experience of earlier International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD financed projects in The Gambia-Rural Finance Project (RFP), the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Development Project (PIWAMP) and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) in the agricultural sector under the Ministry of Agriculture. 

The March 4th- 6th second ‘Dialogue Forum’ is underway at the Wellengara Agricultural Garden Training Centre in West Coast Region.

Director Jammeh said the Nema project is a response to Government of The Gambia (GOTG) request to IFAD for a substantial project that will contribute to the implementation of the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan (2011 – 2015), particularly Programs 1 and 3: Improve Agricultural Land and Water Management; and Develop Agricultural Chains and Market Promotion in efforts to alleviate food insecurity.

The overall goal of Nema project, Jammeh said is to reduce poverty of rural women and youth. The development objective is to increase incomes from improved productivity based on sustainable land and water management practices.

Jammeh said the geographic coverage of the project is defined as all six Agricultural Regional Directorates along the River Gambia- North Bank Region (NBR), Lower River Region (LRR), West Coast Region (WCR) Central River Region (CRR South and North), Upper River Region (URR), essentially the whole rural sector.

He told his audience that the second ‘Dialogue Forum’ is  a follow-up to the first dialogue forum ever held at the same venue from (28th – 29th November, 2013) saying that the Project Support Unit (PSU) has decided to conduct a second forum in which it plans a plethora of presentations by service providers and stakeholders as well as chart a way forward for meaningful cooperation and implementation.

As dictated by the magnitude and significance of this project, which is the most expensive Agricultural Project so far initiated in our beloved Gambia, it therefore deserves our undivided attention so that we grasp the cardinal issues for further and genuine discussions, Jammeh pointe out.

 “It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to be critical in our approach but constructive as well as advance suggested panacea to any issue one is critical about.

“I must also state that, although I salute and applaud The Project Director’s  numerous emphasis on ensuring work through its implementation agencies, I encourage him and his team to live up to expectation and hence mark a significant departure from the mode of operation of many standalone agricultural projects. 

"Your principal preoccupation must be coordination and monitoring of Project activities. In that, you will be able to ensure that that the bulk of the resources go to the beneficiaries at the level of the field and at the same time avoid unnecessary work overload on the PIU resulting to unacceptable low levels of meeting project targets as it has been the suffocating impact on some ill guided projects.”

The project team, he went on to say that, they must endeavour to share information, ensure transparency amongst the project team as well as  the implementing agencies and beneficiaries with regards to all relevant key aspects of the Project.

“This will engender common understanding, ensure a leveled playing field as well as ease implementation of project activities.”

However, it must be applauded and noted that this dialogue forum has the potential to partially fulfill that objective.

Director Jammeh also seize the opportunity to encourage the Department of Agriculture and all the other implementing agencies of the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) to continually re-examine their staff capacity at the level of the field so that they can be making the necessary adjustments to ensure that they live up to expectation.

Hear Him: “For Project implementation to be successful, it is important that the right staff and their numbers as well as a progressive reward system are available at the level of the field,” he concluded.  

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