FAO in Gambia

Signing Ceremony of two projects aimed at increasing agricultural production and self-suficiency

The FAOR, Ms Moshibudi Rampedi (L), shakes hands with the Minister of Agriculture, Mrs Amie Fabureh, at the singning ceremony. © FAO/Freya Morales

 “Mapping of the Human Resources Capacity Gap and Strengthening Capacity
of the Ministry of Agriculture”

BanjulAmie Fabureh, Minister of Agriculture, and Moshibudi Rampedi, FAO Representative (FAOR), signed a new Technical Co-operation Programme during a ceremony that took place at the Ministry of Agriculture in Banjul today.

“Timely” was the adjective most used to describe the project “Mapping of the Human Resources Capacity Gap and Strengthening Capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture” by which FAO  will:

  • Strengthen the institutional and human resources capacities of the Gambian Ministry of Agriculture with the aim of enhancing agricultural production, as well make available timely data for effective planning, implementation and monitoring of Agricultural Natural Resources (ANR) subsector programmes that support the attainment of the National Development Plan (NDP) targets,
  • and develop a functional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) System for provision of Agricultural Statistical Data and Information for all stakeholders.

With these signatures, FAO reaffirms its commitment and will to continue supporting Member States by providing data and information, analysis and knowledge based on its technical expertise and long experience. FAO is providing 480,000 United States dollars (approximately 24,000,000 million dalasi) of Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) Funds under the project that was designed at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“We will support The Gambia by providing technical expertise on Food and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to inform decisions and policy making to achieve the National Development Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals. I thus re-confirm the FAO’s commitment to working with the government of The Gambia, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and partners in shaping the future and lasting impact”, Moshibudi Rampedi (FAOR) said in her statement.

“I think today I am the happiest lady”, Amie Fabureh, Minister of Agriculture, said in response, and reiterated how proud she feels to count once more on FAO invaluable support. “But this time around it is timely, because looking at the agricultural sectors data is always a challenge. We do not have accurate data on horticulture, so your intervention is timely”.

The minister’s statement clearly reflected the tight bonds between the FAO and her ministry, and the importance of this collaboration and work geared towards making The Gambia self-sufficient in food production and the desire to see Gambian agricultural products being commercialized, something that “cannot happen without proper data collection and accurate information”.

“Without a full-fledged department we cannot be self-sufficient in food production” the minister further explained, and added that the reason she mentioned this, is because her staff needs strengthening of their capacities and more accurate data in order to do proper planning and proper programming.

The Permanent Secretary of the MoA, Momodou Mbye Jabang, fully backed up the Ministers position, stating that he could not overemphasize the need and timeliness of the project. He further mentioned that another important aspect of it is that the Government is in the process of evolving the planning service unit into a full-fledged department under the ministry of Agriculture. “The core, the ingredient of any good planning or any

institution for that matter is the HR capacity. And so if you are able to get that in place and get it working well then you are guaranteed a good plan, and like the saying goes: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. And so we will be assured of good plans and good monitoring processes to make sure we assess our activities after completion”.

“Bringing back the lost glory”

Momodou Mbye Jabang, said that the Minister of Agriculture has been pushing very hard since the beginning of our tenure to make sure that the planning outfit of this ministry and the ANR sector in general comes back to its lost glory.

“Back in the days (…) we had some of the best HR available in the sub region, and in fact during the second republic there was a lot of attrition, a whole bunch of very good people went to the UN system and other international organizations. So we would really like to capture that lost glory, and I am sure the honourable minister would like to leave that as one of her greatest legacies for this ministry and sector”, the Permanent Secretary stated.

In relation to the ICT aspect of the project, he too seconded the need to have in place a functional information and communication technology (ICT) system developed for provision of liable, agricultural and statistical data and information for all stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The Permanent Secretary also reminded that this new project builds on activities that the MoA initiated with other partners, namely CORAF, as far as human resources assessments back in 2015.

Taking a step back and viewing this trough more global glasses, the “Mapping of the Human Resources Capacity Gap and Strengthening Capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture” couldn’t be timelier as reflected by the FAOR words. “We enter 2020 with uncertainty and insecurity; inequality persist. Climate change is clear and a present danger. We cannot afford to be the generation that did not address hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

In fact 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations (UN75), and the start of the new decade is marked by the launching of the Decade of Action, that reminds us all that we have ten years to deliver the Global Goals. “To end hunger, we welcome the political will to act, implementing the Maputo Declaration for Africa and promoting campaigns such as the Zero Hunger Challenge; recognizing that guaranteeing food security is not charity, but the indispensable means for realizing the right to food and nutrition security”, Moshibudi Rampedi (FAOR) declared.

This two year Technical Cooperation programme (TCP) will strengthen the capacities in the Planning Service Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, paving the way to access resources from Government and funds in trust with Development Agencies. The project will, by its achievements lay a foundation for enhanced systems, development of skills and knowledge in various specialized disciplines as well as agreements with other Departments in the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Sector.

About the Technical Cooperation Programme

The Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) was created to enable FAO to make its know-how and technical expertise available to member countries upon request. TCP projects are subject to approval criteria that ensure relevance and sustainability of the assistance provided, while catalysing results towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.