ActionAid, Partners Launch 3-Year Sustainable Agricultural Project

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By: Kebba AF Touray

ActionAid International -The Gambia, in partnership with Njawara Agricultural Training Center, Gambia Participates, and Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies has launched a 3-year project meant to advance sustainable agro-ecological practices.

Funded by the European Union, the Strengthening CSO Support and Advocacy for Sustainable Production and Use of Organic Fertilizer in The Gambia (SAPOF) project is aimed at promoting organic farming and agro ecology practices in The Gambia. 

The project will engage more than 40,000 people across the Central River and North Bank Region of the Gambia. 

This includes more than 25, 000 women actively involved in horticultural activities, 8,000 youth eager to engage in sustainable agricultural practices, 200 persons with disabilities ensuring inclusivity and accessibility, and 100 extension workers equipped with the latest knowledge and techniques.

It also includes 150 journalists committed to disseminating information on sustainable agriculture, 150 environmental activists, advocates, champions, bloggers, and influencers, driving awareness and action, and 2, 000 government officials and private sector operators in horticulture and regional authorities, crucial for policy dialogue and implementation. 

Mrs. Ndella Faye Colley, Executive Director, ActionAid International the Gambia, said the SAPOF Project was designed to respond to the critical need identified during their participatory review and reflection process in September 2022. 

“Our findings underscored the urgency of promoting organic farming and agroecological practices to enhance food security, improve livelihoods, and protect our environment,” she says. 

She added that the project aligns perfectly with these goals, aiming to empower communities, particularly women and youth, through education, resources, and support in line with ActionAid’s national strategy and the government Recovery Focused National Development Plan.  

“To the women, youth, persons with disabilities, extension workers, journalists, environmental activists, and all participants in this project, your engagement and enthusiasm are the driving forces behind this initiative and we are confident that together, we will pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for The Gambia,” she said. 

IsatouJallow, Project Manager SAPOF, said the project symbolizes their collective vision for a sustainable and prosperous future for The Gambia’s agricultural sector. “With your unwavering support and collaboration, we are confident in our ability to effect positive change and leave a legacy for generations to come.”

“As we embark on this journey, it’s with a deep sense of responsibility and dedication that we commit to implementing SAPOF with excellence and integrity. Our geographic focus on the Central River and North Bank Region ensures that we deliver impactful results to the communities that need it most,” she said. 

Musa Mbye, Governor of Central River Region highlighted the government’s commitment to advancing agricultural development in the country. 

“This initiative is in line with the Gambia government’s Recovery Focused National Development Plan, and we are committed to supporting the successful implementation of the project. As critical stakeholders in national development, women and youth stand to benefit greatly from the support that SAPOF will deliver,” he said. 

He added: “Your role as youth and women is pivotal in driving the success of SAPOF, and in setting an organic standard for agriculture in The Gambia.”  

Evangelina Blanco, Programme Officer, European Union in The Gambia, said SAPOF embodies the values of innovation, Sustainability, and collaboration that are at the core of the EU’s commitment to supporting projects that promote positive change and development in The Gambia. 

“By investing in organic farming practices and the use of organic fertilizers, we are not only improving agricultural productivity but also contributing to a healthier ecosystem and a more resilient agricultural sector in The Gambia,” she added. 

Musa M. Humma, Director of the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security, described the SAPOF project as a project that will contribute to the transformation drive of agricultural development in the Gambia. 

He highlighted his office and ministry’s commitment to supporting the successful implementation of the project.

He said the government bought and supplied 6000 tons of organic fertiliser called Eco soils and distributed it to the farming communities in the Gambia and established compost chambers in the vegetable gardens to encourage farmers to make and use compost manure in their fields.

“My ministry’s programs and policies are all aligned to a concept called climate-smart agriculture (CSA). This concept improves the integration of agriculture development and climate responsiveness,” he said.