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November 27, 2011

Gambian farmers explain their problems to parliament

The Activista, a youth organization that is advocating for the support of small holder women farmers to end hunger, has on Wednesday 2nd November handed over the demand of the women farmers to the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

In welcoming the Activista at the National Assembly, the Chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Bintanding Jarjue said they, as representatives of the people, are supposed to be visiting them in order to know their problem and concerns, but that due to mobility constraints, they are unable to do that.

Given this situation, she said, the members of her Select Committee are grateful to Activista for their efforts and are therefore ready to listen to their findings and demands.

In laying their findings before the Select Committee, Mr. Lamin Saidykhan listed the five problems that confront farmers in the Gambia and which contribute to hunger namely the Lack of farming implements, Insufficient land, Lack of infrastructure, Climate change and Lack of projects.

He explained the problems and the parts of the country that they affect as follows:

Problem 1: Lack of farming implements

- Tractors and powertillers (NBR, LRR, URR, CRR, WCR)

- Fertilizers and pesticides (NBR, LRR, URR, CRR, WCR)

- Free public taps or local pumps (NDR)

- Water pumping machine (CRR)

- Varieties of good seeds (LRR, URR, WCR)

- Milling machine (NBR)

Problem 2: Insufficient land

- Protection against salt-water infestation (LRR, NBR, WCR)

- Ownership and control of the land by women farmers (URR)

- Security against hippos on the rice fields (CRR)

Problem 3: Lack of infrastructure

- Improved road networks (LRR)

- Improved storage facilities (CRR, WCR)

- Construction of dikes between the rice fields (NBR)

- Fencing of vegetable garderns (CRR)

- Construction of irrigation for vegetable gardens, including water cans (NBR, WCR)

- Constructions of markets to sell the produced crops (NBR)

- Construction of public wells and boreholes for the community (NBR)

Problem 4: Climate change

- Tree planning (forest and fruit trees) to mitigate climate change (LRR, NBR, URR)

Problem 5: Lack of projects

- Socio-economic projects to improve the general situation of the women farmers (NBR)

- Grants and loans to start food businesses (CRR)

- Rural-urban immigration project (WCR)

- Keep the Maputo promise: increase the percentage of the national budget allocated to agriculture to 10%

- Consider the problems of the small holder farmers specifically in the finalization of the national agricultural policy.

After the laying of their findings, the report was handed over to the Chairperson of the Select Committee Hon. Jarjue.

In receiving the findings, Hon Jarjue after thanking Activista noted that she appreciated the use of the word inadequate rather that lack of facilities.

Mr. Saidykhan finally promised that they would replace the word "lack" in their petition with "inadequate."

Foroyaa

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