By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
As the lead organisation challenged with helping to eliminate hunger, food security and malnutrition, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), on Wednesday, 17th September, 2014 handed over horticultural inputs worth $45,471 to 5 beneficiaries at its office in Faraja.
The materials donated include ropes, rakes, machetes, wheel barrows, scales, watering cans and knapsack sprayers.
The project is aimed at restoring and reinforcing the livelihoods of vulnerable farming households affected by the severe crop failure and soaring food prices through the provision of field crops, vegetable gardening and poultry inputs to vulnerable communities.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs. Mariatou Njie, the Assistant Representative of FAO in The Gambia, said FAO received funding from the Belgian government in response to the 2012 crop failure and that the provision of tools to support vegetable gardening is a component of the OSRO/GAM/203/BEL project. She said the donation will increase the level of off-season vegetable production, improve quality of vegetables produce and increase access to horticultural equipment and tools.
FAO, she said, supports member countries in various ways in their efforts of improving production and productivity and diversifying production in horticulture, adding that over the years, FAO Gambia has supported the production of improved vegetable varieties and access to water through construction of wells and installation of water irrigation structures.
“We strongly believed that the distribution of these inputs will provide a good base for increasing the productivity of vegetable production in your respective gardens if well managed. This is important for many reasons,” said Mrs. Njie.
In addition to providing more nutritious food to participating households, said the deputy rep, it would also contribute to increasing household income.
The beneficieries are Old Bakau/Cape Point Ward, Give Hands To The Needy, Women’s Initiative For Education and Empowerment, Bansang Hospital and Rural Development Organization of Farafenni.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr. Abdoulie M. Jallow, the Councilor of Old Bakau/Cape Point Ward, thanked FAO for what he described as a ‘kind and timely’ gesture. He said this would go a long way in greatly increasing vegetable production.