“Gov’t identifies Horticulture as key priority development area” Says Agric PS 2

By Alhagie Sora
Sheriffo Bojang, the Permanent Secretary (2) at the ministry of
agriculture, said that the government of The Gambia has identified
horticulture as one of the priority area for development.He said this disclosure while presiding over the official opening of a
two days validation forum of the National Horticulture Sector Master
Plan (NHSMP) organized by FAO, in collaboration with the agriculture
ministry, recently at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
The Agric Permanent Secretary 2 said horticulture is an important
source of income, employment and an entry point for improving food and
nutritional security in the country, especially in rural areas and
among women farmers. He added that horticulture is a dynamic sub-
sector of agriculture which attracts attention from government,
development agencies and private sector investors.
“Horticulture is very important in the socio-economic development of
the country and constitutes approximately 4% of GDP and it is perhaps
the key sources of rural income for the women folk,’’Mr. Bojang noted.
He also said that the NHSMP will inform the National Medium Term
Programme Framework of the FAO and Gambia, as well as the donor
portfolio of major development partners in the horticultural sector.
PS Bojang noted that the master plan will be a giant step towards the
attainment of the objectives of the Gambia National Agricultural
Investment Programme (GNAIP) and Programme for Accelerated Growth and
Employment (PAGE) of the Gambia Government.
He told the participants that another important part of the validation
is the Farm Management Hand Book.
“This document will provide technical guidance to the farming
community, the extension specialists and agricultural advisers. The
content of the document if properly followed and utilized will
obviously improve the production and productivity of the farming
community,” said PS Bojang.
He urged the stakeholders and collaborating partners in the field of
agriculture and natural resources to take holistic value chain
approaches focusing on women and youth farmers on the production side
and fostering sustainable linkages with existing national, regional
and international markets for traditional horticultural products as
well as less exploited segments such as floriculture or high value
fruits.
The Agric PS 2 said at the end of the project, MOA/DOA would have
prepared a dynamic NHSMP with wide stakeholder participation and will
have the support of development partners and begin to establish better
conditions for investment by the public and private sectors.
He said the Farm Management Hand Book has eight thematic areas namely,
vegetable production, grains, legumes and oil seeds, cereals
production, soil fertility, pest management, post-harvest handling
processing and preservation and marketing.