NAMs Ratify $15m Loan Agreement (PHOTO OF Abdou Kolley)

By Muhammed Bah

Members of the National Assembly on Monday, 22 June, 2015, ratified a loan agreement amounting to ID: New National Assembly Building10,000,000.00 (10million) equivalents to USD: 15,000,000.00 (15million).

Tabling the motion before deputies at the National Assembly, the Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, Abdou Kolley, said a credit financing agreement was obtained between the Republic of The Gambia and the Islamic Development Bank on 26th June, 2014 for the funding of resilience building to recurring food insecurity project in The Gambia.

Minister Kolley further informed deputies that the project aims at contributing to warding-off droughts and famine that devastate Gambia and sets back its economic and social development. He said the project is to enhance and ensure that the targeted rural population have increase in productivity, capacity of their assets, develop their capacity to adapt to climate change and improve the capacity of decision makers’ to manage the food crises.

The finance and economic affairs said the target groups are the poor rural households most specially women. He said the key crops targeted all major grains, especially the staple crop rice.

He concluded that livestock and pastoral-ism are also targeted to enhance income of the rural poor and to improve their resilience to food security shocks.

The Member of Jarra East, Hon. Bafai Saidykhan, seconded the motion. He said the Gambia used to be food self-sufficient because aid was given to the rural poor.

According to him, these disappeared and that the country loss its food self- sufficient status.

Hon. Saidykhan said the areas of rice production by then were the Central River Region and Lower River Region respectively but was able to feed the entire country. He added that having such agreements in the country could enable the Gambia to attain food self-sufficiency. He noted that the loan acquired by the government from the Islamic Development Bank is in line with Vision 2016.

Hon. Bintanding Jarju of Foni Brefet, who also supported the motion, told her colleagues that food security is a concern for all. She urged all stakeholders to support this project and make possible to implement.