This column is devoted to monitor and report on issues that are relatingKanimang Camara to food security in the Gambia as well as the interventions of Government and Non-governmental Organizations. During a recent tour of the farming community, Farmers’ Eye was informed that the cutting of trees and bush fires are posing as threats to food security since they destroy the habitat thus causing windstorms and wind-erosion and also feed of the wildlife forcing them to intrude farms and destroy crops.  According to the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Policy of the Gambia government the Forestry sub sector could arrest and reverse degradation of lands along river banks and mangrove areas and protect others at risk of degradation from erosion, and in the process expand land availability for increased rice production from tidal irrigation, and short cycle cash crops from uplands. Forestry could also increase the efficiency of the value chain of livestock, especially increasing off-take and processing of cattle in the rangelands of the country. Given that Forestry is crucial to the attainment of Food Security, this edition of Farmers’ Eye got in touch with Kanimang Camara, the National Facilitator of Forest and Farm Facility, for him to shed light on the activities of this facility. According to Kanimang Camara, the National Facilitator of Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) support to the Gambia promotes cross- sectoral coordination through the Agriculture and Natural Resources Platform and Working Group as well as enhances the organization and capacity of local Forest and Farm community’s livelihoods alongside fostering an integrated approach towards forest landscape management. Further explaining the facility, Mr Camara said it is a partnership between Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The FFF National Facilitator said the facility funds partnership agreements and small grants with stakeholders, women, community producer organizations and government in support of interventions geared towards strengthening of small holder producer organizations for business and policy engagements, catalyzing multi-stakeholder policy platforms and linking local voice and learning to global arena. He said since its launch in The Gambia in March 2013, the country activities focused on the following outputs and outcomes: Forest and Farm Producer Organizations (FFPOs) are organized for markets and policy dialogue; Capacities of FFPOs strengthened through participatory training sessions; Working relationship between FFPOs, Government and Private sector improved; Experience sharing between FFPOs in country shared; Cross- sectoral coordination on sustainable management of forest and farm landscapes improved; Understanding of local population on ANR sector related policies improved; Community Forests Legal ownership transfers to local communities supported and strengthened; and Local voice heard and listened to at all levels. He listed some of the important activities they have implemented in 2014 in partnership with National Farmers Platform of The Gambia (NFPG), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Natural Resources Consulting (NACO) are as follows:

  • Rolling-out the Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy to the Regions and Districts
  • National Tree Planting exercises in the Regions
  • National Farmers Conference 2nd Edition
  • Organize Cashew Farmers and Beekeepers to sort-out their governance issues
  • ANR Platform nation- wide treks to assess how ANR policies are implemented at grass-root level
  • ANR Working Group and Platform feedback meetings
  • Capacity development programmes for FFPOs on Bee keeping, handicraft, CF steps, construction and use of mud stoves
  • Participation of NFPG President on 2014 COFO in Rome
  • Participation of representative of Policy Analysis Unit in the conference of FFPOs held in China
  • Farmer to Farmer Field visits
  • Contact and Collaboration Fairs aiming at linking local FFPOs to Business Development Services
  • National Awareness raising meeting on Voluntary Guidelines on responsible governance of tenure
  • Support to Community Forest legal ownership transfers
  • Periodic Radio and TV programmes on ANR issues
  • Initiation of FFF Small Grants scheme to provide support directly to FFPOs with bankable project proposals