Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gambia to receive US$20.28 million IFAD grant to boost rice and vegetable productivity

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


[NAIROBI] The Gambia will receive US$20.28 million grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers with a particular attention to rural women and youth.  The focus will be on increased rice and vegetable production.
IFAD announced 20 December that it will provide a US$20.28 million grant to Gambia and the financing agreement for the National Agriculture Land and Water Management Development Project was signed today by Abdou Kolley, Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
Agriculture is an important sector for the country’s economy, employing over 72 per cent of the population and contributes about 30 per cent to the gross domestic product.
Most people living in rural areas in Gambia are extremely poor and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. According to IFAD women in particular, who make up a large proportion of this group, lack economic opportunities and access to productive resources like credit, land, skills and services.
The project, it is hoped, will enhance rice and vegetable production nationwide through sustainable land and water management practices to help smallholder farmers increase their incomes. It will increase the productivity of limited farm land and support improvements to infrastructure such as water and roads, and also strengthen farmers’ organizations to help commercialize their activities to boost household incomes.
According to a press release by IFAD, the project aims to transform the Gambian agricultural sector from simply subsistence farming to an increasingly efficient market system. This will help meet the objectives of both the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan and Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment.
Co-financed by the government of The Gambia and the Islamic Development Bank, the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture of The Gambia. About 22,000 poor rural households, including 660 young rural women and men will directly benefit from the project.
This project brings to 10 programmes and projects financed by IFAD in The Gambia for a total investment of approximately $73.9 million benefitting 149,200 households since 1982.

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