By: Kebba AF Touray
The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) with funding from the European Union, on Wednesday 30th June 2021, handed over four automated weather stations to Government through the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters (MoFWR-NAMs).
According to Fisheries Minister James F.P. Gomez who received the gesture with delight, the automated weather stations will increase the capacity of staff in monitoring and forecasting the weather and climate.
He said his Ministry has strengthen their ability to monitor and forecast the weather and climate over a number of years, and have successfully released regular weather forecasts and early warning bulletins; that they have set up listening groups throughout the Gambia, as farmers and citizens receive more timely and accurate weather information.
According to the Fisheries Minister, the four weather stations will be located across the country specifically in Kerewan, Janjanbureh, Basse and Jenoi; that his Ministry will be able to increase the accuracy and monitoring of their forecasts, thereby making Gambians safer and better informed.
He explained that part of his Ministry’s mission is to provide timely and accurate weather and climate information to safeguard the population and to promote food security.
Minister Gomez said the importance of providing timely and accurate information is critical for all Gambians, “so that crops are planted at the appropriate time, in preparation for heavy rains and droughts, as well as to manage high temperatures and humidity that can cause harm to vulnerable people and crops.
He thanked the European Union for funding the project, the UN partners for the support in its implementation, as well as the WFP contracted engineers for facilitating the delivery and installation of the stations.
Yasuhirib Tsumura, the WFP Country Representative reaffirmed their institution’s commitment in reaching out to the poor who have lost their houses and assets due to floods and windstorm; to hungry children attending Schools, and to malnourished mothers and children. He said they are focusing their efforts more to help the Government and people of the Gambia by putting in place a sustainable system to safeguard its own food and nutrition security, which is the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on “Zero Hunger’’.
He said Gambia is vulnerable to seasonal shocks and disasters, which affect people’s lives and livelihoods through the damage of their assets and farmlands; the deterioration in their food security, and the increase in their malnutrition in the short and long terms.
Tsumura congratulated the European Union and further said that the purchase and installation of the weather stations, is part of the EU Project entitled: “The Gambia – Agriculture for economic growth and food security and nutrition, to mitigate migration program.”