The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has stepped up assist the farmers at a time when they are in deer need of help. While rural farmers were thinking of the grains and seeds to use for the new farming season, FAO came forward and handed over 94 metric tons of rice seeds and 76.9 metric tons of maize to rural farmers through the minister of Agriculture. The grains and seeds provided for by the FAO are meant for the rural farmers that were affected by last year’s crop failure.
It would be recalled that farmers were hit by poor rainfall thus leading to crop failure; something that struck the rural farmers eminently. In a bid to assist these crop failure victims, FAO stepped up to assist.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Kuntaur seed store in Central River Region North, Dr. Babagana Ahmadou, FAO country representative said the move is an attempt to support farmers who suffered from the 2011 crop failure.
He said the move came as a response to the emergency declaration for support by the Gambian government last year. He also pointed out that the resources came from United Nation Secretary General under the Office of the Humanitarian Response, and Central Emergency Response Fund. “These two institutions gave us some resources so we quickly procure the inputs to address the problems of farmers before the start of another rainy season,” Ahmadou said.
“We are very pleased to hand over these inputs for onward distribution to farmers. This is the first phase of the distribution,” he said.
He also assured that FAO will try all they can to bring groundnut seeds to the country before the start of the farming season.
Receiving the inputs on behalf of the government and Gambian farmers, Solomon Owen, the minister of Agriculture on behalf of the National Disaster Management Agency and the National Food Security Council headed by the vice president, thanked FAO for the generous intervention. He noted that the intervention will go a long way in alleviating the plight of the farmers who suffered from last year’s crop failure.
Minister Owens also recalled that when the crisis was declared, FAO was the first to respond in the form of assisting in mitigating the impact of the crisis on farmers and the cropping season. “It is not only in this time of crisis, but FAO is the biggest partner to agricultural sector in this country,” he said.
He then appealed to farmers to cultivate as much maize as they can, since the market will be available for maize in the ensuing years.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries Ganyie Touray, Governor,Central River Region, thanked FAO for their intervention, describing it as timely. He appealed to farmers not to sell the seeds, stressing that it is meant for them to till the land.