A new World Bank-funded project is bringing a breath of hope to farmers in The Gambia.
Called the Gambia Inclusive and Resilient Agricultural Value Chain Development (GIRAV) project, it will, among other supports, provide 12,500 Gambian farmers with certified seeds of improved varieties of rice and maize.
The Gambian Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Dr. Demba Sabally, launched the national seed distribution in early June 2022, at an official ceremony.
The seeds both locally produced and supplied from Senegal will help beneficiaries meet the challenge of access to quality seeds, thereby increasing agricultural production and productivity.
“One of the biggest challenges for a farmer is to have the land and not the seeds,” said Mr. Musa Sowe, president of the National Coordinating Organisation of Farmer Associations Gambia (NACOFAG) .
“Now that we have received quality seeds on right time, we are optimistic that we will have a very good yield at the end of the cropping season,” rejoices the farmers’ representative.
Quality seeds are fundamental and are the basement for building any national food and nutritional security system.
Mr. Sowe who is the voice of the farmers, is confident that the seeds, which are offered to the farmers at no cost, will enhance agricultural production and productivity, keep and create more employment, and also, generate financial incomes for the beneficiaries, thus improving their livelihood and living conditions.
Indeed, Gambian agriculture has been facing several challenges in recent years, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
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The GIRAV project is therefore aligned with the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Approach Paper and the Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Efficient (RISE) frame, specifies Mr. Abdoulie Touray, Coordinator of the GIRAV Project in The Gambia.
The 12,500 beneficiaries will receive two hundred (200) metric tons of rice seeds and fifty (50) metric tons of maize seeds.
CORAF facilitated the supply of seeds, as part of a sub-component under its responsibility.
“We are grateful to the Gambian government, the World Bank, CORAF and all other actors as the GIRAV project brings renewed hope to farmers. We have been involved from the beginning, which makes the project really timely and meets our needs,” said NACOFAG President.
The GIRAV project will foster the development of key priority agricultural value chains with high growth potential in The Gambia.
It is a 5-year program and should come to an end by December 2026.