Abdoulie G. Dibba
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has on Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, held a signing ceremony on Forest and Farm Facility Small Grants with Nine (9) Forest and Farm Producer Organisations at their headquarter in Fajara.
According to the vacillator, Kanimang Camara, the Forest and Farm Facility small grants are designed to provide direct support to Forest and Farm Producer Groups around Forest and Farm Facility pillar one, outcome 2.
Mr. Camara revealed that about thirty groups applied for the small grants but only nine succeeded as beneficiaries of the grant.
On her part, FAO Country Rep. Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala said FAO seeks to promote sustainable forest and farm management by strengthening capacities of stakeholders for effective engagement in policies and investments.
She said this engagement is at the international, national and local levels.
Dr . Kalala said Community groups face some challenges in their effective participation and that a key constraint is access to initial capital to carry out relevant initiatives for investment and awareness raising.
She added that the FFF Small grant component seeks to in a small way address this gap by providing modest funding to selected community organisations engaged in forests and farms.
The FAO Rep said nine community groups were selected in a competitive process and that the nine groups that have been selected will share $67,400 (D2.7million) and each group will receive between D280, 000 and D360, 000.
For his part, the president of National Farmers’ Platform, Alhagie Basse Mboge, said they have, through the FFF program, made a lot of landmarked achievements for the entire farming community in general. He highlighted the following: setting up of a regional taskforce for legal transfer of Communities Forests to the communities and support communities; FFF support AGFP to conduct its rust national conference of local forest managers in the country; Support National Tree planting initiatives during the coming wet season (June- September); FFF activity had indeed improve livelihood of farmer producers in enhancing value addition and income generation through product training of fruits trees and vegetables and handicraft; Most importantly the FFF activity enables farmers to be part of the ANR working group through the ANR platform which is headed by NFPG, at a policy dialogue forum and to enable farmers at Regional level to be part of the Regional Technical Advisory Committee which is one of the pillars of FFF that is the voice of the farmers be heard.
He concluded by thanking FAO for their active and meaningful partnership with the Gambia Government and by extension the entire farming communities and the facilitator of FFF for the Gambia.
Mr. Kanimang Camara and promised that NFPG will indeed ensure that the funds are put in proper use to the interest of beneficiary members.
The beneficiaries are all Gambia Forestry Platform, REFESA Association, Rural Development Organisation, Brufut Allatentou Association, Aquaculutre Farmers Association, Tumana Association for Development, Rural Poultry Farmers Association, Bureng Adult Literacy Class, Banjul Community based agroforestry practices and Japanteh Society.