27 July, 2016, Banjul, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has restated its commitment to support efforts aimed at strengthening Forest and Farm Producer Organizations in The Gambia for improved livelihoods and sustainable national resources management. Dr. Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO Country Representative in The Gambia gave the reassurance following the signing of a Letter of Agreement (LoA) by the National Farmers Platform of The Gambia (NFPG) and FAO.
Under the arrangement, FAO will provide financial support amounting to about GMD3.6m (USD86, 820.00) through the Forest Farm Facility (FFF) initiative to enable the NFPG implement its planned activities within twelve months. The intervention is designed to “Strengthen smallholder, women, communities and producer organizations for business/livelihoods and policy engagement”. The support is expected to increase the capacities of Forest and Farm Producer Organizations on Business development and market linkages, access to support and services, including finance as well as Knowledge, Practices and Experiences shared amongst Forest and Farm Producer Organizations for improved Forest and Farm Management.
The FAO assistance is also aimed at improving the capacities of Apex Forest and Farm Producer Organizations including Community Forest Management Committees (CFMCs) on project proposals writing and resources mobilization, thus enabling them to respond to the “call for proposals” from diverse resource partners in and outside the Gambia, amongst others also from FFF Small Grants facility on tenure and National Resource Management, and on Group Internal Governance and Equity. The intervention will also help to support the revitalization and strengthening of Firewood Producers and Vendors Associations while addressing relevant policy and marketing issues for improved access and affordability of fuelwood. It will also support governance, communication and coordination activities of the National Farmers Platform using multi-facet approaches and methods for efficiency and productivity.
The FAO Country Representative expressed appreciation of the achievements registered by the FFF initiative in The Gambia since its inception in 2013.
‘‘It highlights successful collaboration between civil society and government to address critical development goals. The results are there for all to see and we at FAO are appreciative of the gains made. ‘We look forward to continue working with NACO and the entire ANR platform in our collective drive to improve food security and nutrition, making agriculture and forestry more productive and sustainable while reducing rural poverty and increasing the resilience of livelihoods to disasters’’, said Dr. Katepa-Kalala.
For his part, Mr. Alhagie Basse Mboge,President, NFPG thanked FAO, FFF partners, The Gambian Government and Civil Society Organizations on behalf of FFPOs in the country for the ‘‘remarkable assistance’’. He explained that the intervention will contribute significantly towards improving the organizational capacities of FFPOs on group leadership, markets and effective policy engagement. Mboge noted that experiences from the implementation of the first LoA have shown that empowering key actors in communities is an effective tool for developing the capacities of local communities to tackle issues within their own environment for enhanced sustainable natural resources management, food security and nutrition.
FAO Press Release