Abdoulie G. Dibba
Action Aid International the Gambia (AAITG), Senegal and its Secretariat on Thursday 9 October 2014, opened a two-day regional meeting on Agro-Ecology and Resilience at the Sunswing Hotel.
The meeting which brought together participants from Senegal and The Gambia was meant to brainstorm on issues of sustainable agriculture for food self-sufficiency.
According to the Organizers, Agro-Ecology and Resilience Building, is a project initiated against the backdrop of the 2011 drought and 2012 flash floods that has afflicted the Sahel Region and is being implemented in Senegal and The Gambia.
In delivering his welcoming statement, the Executive Director of Action Aid the Gambia, Omar Badjie, noted that there is a strong community member’s relationship between Action Aid International the Gambia and that of Senegal. He said the Gambia and Senegal are jointly running the Agro-Ecology and Resilience Building project, and this would help strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
He informed the participants that Action Aid International the Gambia and Senegal are one programme under one Director. Mr. Badgie therefore noted that this meeting would enable the two countries to share experiences and the participants are expected to come up with strategies on how to improve the project.
According to Omar Badjie, the Agro-Ecology and Resilience Building project is relevant and important to their area of operations, adding that droughts are frequent now than it used to be in the past. This, he continued, has even made smallholder farmers, especially women more vulnerable.
On her part, Aissata Dia, the head of programmes and policy, Action Aid Senegal recalled ten years ago when Senegal was part of The Gambia country programme, initiating and implementing the same programmes under the same Board, but in 2007, she said Senegal became a fully fledged country programme.
Madam Dia pointed out that both Gambia and Senegal have prioritized agriculture and knew very well how food security is important for their development and dignity.
According to her, they are talking about agriculture as well as thinking about the consequences of climate change and its adaptation. However, she said, Agro-ecology and resilience is the key to addressing climate change issues and as such adequate policies are needed for the actualization of their objective.
She noted that the objective is to be food self-sufficient and that in such a case, they will be thinking about land, water management, production inputs and implements, rain and even power, peace and war.
Madame Dia stated that when the resources become scarce, the land and production resources can bring about war and thus the need for them to be thinking about research and sharing, behavioural change to adapt to the big challenges about climate change.
Teresa Anderson, Research Officer for Resilience Action Aid International, expressed delight over the project while urging participants to take advantage of it.
Jainaba Nyang-Njie, the communication and documentation Directress of Action Aid the Gambia Chaired the official opening.