|Group picture stakeholders|
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Stakeholders brainstorm on national horticulture sector plan
The Ministry of Agriculture through Horticulture Services gathered stakeholders in the horticulture sector to develop the National Horticulture Sector Master Plan (NHSMP) funded the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at TANGO conference hall 7th to 8th April, 2014.
The objectives of the NHSMP is develop dynamic National Policy document on Horticulture Sub-Sector to address the challenges and come up with a bankable project proposal for sustainable development.
Speaking at the official opening, Madam Isatou Yaboe on behalf of permanent secretary Ministry of Agriculture, she said the NHSMP premised from The Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan 2011-2015 (GNAIP) and accelerated growth and employment PAGE. GNAIP and PAGE is the medium-term strategic plan of the Government of The Gambia towards achieving the vision for the agricultural and natural resources ANR sector and food and nutritional security in the country.
According to her, the Government of Gambia has identified horticulture as one the priority area for development adding that horticulture is an important source of income, employment and is an entry point for improving food and nutritional security in The Gambia, especially in rural areas and among women farmers.
Horticulture sector, she noted is a dynamic sub-sector of The Gambia’s agriculture which attracts attention from government, development agencies and private sector investors.
“Horticultural is very important in the socio-economic development of the country, as it recognizes that the sub-sector constitutes approximately 4 percent of GDP and it is perhaps the key source of income for the rural women folk.”
Therefore stakeholders and collaborating partner in the field of agriculture and natural resources are urge to take holistic value n approach focusing on women and youth farmers on the production side and fostering sustainable linkages with existing national, regional and international market for traditional horticultural products as well as less exploited segment such as floriculture or high value fruits.
Speaking on behalf of FAO Country Resident Representative, Madam Sirra Njia Sanyang developing the horticulture master plan will enable the Government to catalyze horticultural sector development that results in improve livelihood and food security of the people of The Gambia? It is worth mentioning that the NHSMP is deriving from the Gambia National Agricultural investment plan 1011-2015 GNAIP.
GNAIP is the medium-term strategic plan of the government of the Gambia towards achieving the vision for the agricultural and natural resources (ANR) sector and food security in the country within the framework of the new partnership for Africa (NEPAD) and comprehensive Africa agriculture development programmed (CAADP).
“FAO has consistently provided technical support to the ANR sectors in the Gambia related to agricultural development in a broad sense through financial and technical backstopping of various agricultural and natural resources development projects including that of TCP projects”
These includes the CBPP project, achieving sustainable cowpea production through training women farmers in integrated production and pest management practices in farmer field schools project amongst others.
“As you are all award, the Gambia agricultural sector, women constitute the bulk of farmers involved in vegetable and legume production, processing and marketing. Therefore, any capacity development initiative that targets women will significantly increase production, marketing and utilization in the Gambia.”
The development of a fully financed NHSMP will assist agricultural producers and customers alike improving the sector’s contribution to economic development and poverty alleviation.
Speaking earlier, Mr Musa Humma director general, Department of Agriculture said the purpose of the meeting is to share and discuss with the key stakeholders on the development of Regional Action Plan and Resource Allocation Framework.
The master plan if executed will go a long way in addressing food and nutritional security, creating employment and improvising our livelihoods.
Director Humma said the NHSMP will lay emphasis on a holistic value chain approach, focusing on women and youth farmers on the production side and fostering sustainable linkages with existing national, regional and international markets for local horticulture products and producers.