By: Kebba AF Touray
The Rice Value Chain Transformation Project (RVCTP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Wednesday 29th March 2023, handed over 60 Tablets to the Department of Planning of the said Ministry, worth US$3.5 million. The equipment was procured through the project’s additional funding mechanism called ‘African Emergency Food Production Facility’ (AEFPF), is additional financing under the Rice Value Chain Transformation Project, funded by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB). The equipment is earmarked to enhance data collection, storage, processing and analysis, as well as reporting, so as to capture production and productivity data for the value chain that the project is focused on which is mainly rice.
Speaking at the event, Sana Mendy, the Project Director said in order to prevent or minimize leakages in the distribution of fertilizer, it is good for them to go digital and register all beneficiary farmers for fertilizer distribution. He said this has been made at the request of the Government of the Gambia from AfDB, to their request of purchasing and subsidizing fertilizer for the farming community.
“It will be a smart subsidy which has necessitated them to purchase the said tablets to ensure that they collect the data and register each farmer countrywide, amounting to US$3.5 Million,” he said.
Francis Mendy, expressed gratitude to stakeholders for the procurement of the said equipment, and assured that the items will be put into judicious use.
“The Department of Planning was over the years battling with data collection due to inadequate equipment like tablets and smartphones, since they graduated from paper based data collection exercise to electronics,” he said, and that they have been partnering with data collection providers such as GBOS to do the process; that the 60 tablets will go a long way in reducing these challenges.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Hassan Jallow, said the tablets came as a result of the approval by the ADB’s Emergency Food Facility (AEFPF), which is additional funding for the project, valued at US$3.5 million. He said AEFPF is the ADB’s new approved rapid response framework to address the food crisis and distribution of supply of critical inputs for food production arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. That having been aware of the existence of the facility, the Gambia Government requested for additional financing under the AEFPF, to mitigate the effects of external shocks and this will enable them meet the country’s food production for 2022 and 2023. That the objective of the AEFPF is to help African countries avert looming food crisis due to the disruption of food supplies arising from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. He said key components of the sub-project are to scale up climate resilient production and productivity, enhance farmer registration data bases for smart inputs subsidies, and to strengthen Agriculture policy and project management.