Abdoulie G. Dibba
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Programme and Action-Aid International The Gambia Thursday 13th November 2014, commemorated World Food Day at the Buffer Zone under the theme: ‘Family Farming, Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth’.
According to the FAO Country Rep., Madam Perpetua Katepel kalala, throughout the world, family farmers play a crucial socio-economic, environmental and cultural role which amid serious challenges, needs to be cherished and strengthened through innovation.
Recognizing this, she said, the United Nations designated 2014 as the International year of Family Farming and this year’s theme for the commomeration of world food day also celebrates the contribution family farmers make to food security and sustainable development.
Madam Kalala indicated that when family farmers are stronger, ,it is a win-win situation as more food will be available thereby ensuring food security by creating the possibility of producing and buying food in the local markets making the meals fresher and healthier which in turn will make more money flow in the local economies and help them to flourish.
On his part, the Director General of the Department of Agriculture Ousman Jammeh, noted that
the theme, family farming has been chosen to raise the profile of farming and small holder farmers. It focuses world attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing development, in particular in rural areas, Jammeh said. The UN assembly has designated 2014 international year of family farming, he said. This is a strong signal that the international community recognizes the important contribution of family farmers to world food security.
For his part, the Executive Director of Action-Aid International, Mr. Omar Badjie, said family farming is facing many challenges such as environmental degradation, salt intrusion, soil erosion, deforestation, poor access to other production inputs, rural/urban migration which all contribute towards the decline in productivity and production levels. In addition, he said family farms are smaller in size, scattered and difficult to mechanize. The management of small ruminants under free-range systems also pose significant management challenges in family farming, he informs.
“The need for investment in technologies and innovations that can help family farming prosper beyond subsistence level is amply manifested.
Family farming must be economically profitable, intellectually stimulating, and environmentally sustainable and to support family farms, government, international organizations as well as community based organizations need to focus on improving farm production and productivity through the use of climate resilient sustainable agriculture approaches,” said AAITG Executive Director.
Other speakers include the World Food Programme Country Rep. Madam Victoria Ginja and Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council who gave the welcoming remarks.