VENTURES AFRICA – In an effort to improve the lives of smallholder farmers including youth and women in Gambia, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) would soon release a $20.28 million grant to Gambia, it was announced on Tuesday.
The money will be used to enhance rice and vegetable production nationwide through sustainable land and water management practices to help smallholder farmers increase their incomes.
It will also be used to increase the productivity of limited farm land and support improvements to infrastructure such as water and roads. Additionally, it will strengthen farmers’ organisations to help commercialize their activities to boost household incomes.
This is the 10th project the IFAD has financed in Gambia, bringing the total investment to about $73.9 million benefitting 149.200 households since 1982.
The financing agreement for the National Agriculture Land and Water Management Development Project was signed by Abdou Kolley, Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs in Gambia, and Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD.
In Gambia, agriculture is an important sector for the country’s economy, employing over 72 percent of the population and contributing about 30 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP).
According to This Day newspaper, most Gambians living in rural areas are extremely poor and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Women, who make up a large proportion of this group, lack economic opportunities and access to productive resources like credit, land, skills and services.