A five-day sensitisation and training workshop, on food crisis monitoring and prevention in The Gambia, is underway at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
Delivering the keynote address at the occasion Mr. Lamin Nyabally, Permanent of State for fisheries, Water Resources and National assembly Members said food security is synonymous with national security and government has not been complacent about it, as demonstrated clearly in the presentation.
He stated that studies, conducted in 2005 under the medium term plan for development in the context of Vision 2020 in The Gambia, indicated 47% of the population live below the overall poverty line and 30% below the food poverty line. He emphasised that these staggering statistics are of great concern to the government.
PS Nyabally said, in The Gambia the national AGRIHYMET (Agriculture Hydrology, Meteorology) component, under the chairmanship of the Department of Water Resources, has been in operation following the establishment of the Permanent Interstate Committee for the Control of Drought in the Sahel (CILSS) in 1974.
He added that government would continue to place heavy emphasis on the effective operation of the various data or information networks, which feed the early warning and food crisis management system.
For his part Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Agriculture and also the PS for CONACLSS Adbourahman Jobe said the sensitisation also enhanced the creation of a network in the region to better coordinate the joint efforts and actions to pre-empt food crisis.
Mr. Abdou Karim Quedraogo, resource person of the workshop who is also an agronome expert, said some countries benefited from the first phase of the project namely Mali, Burkina-Faso, Mauritania and Senegal.
He noted that the project has now been extended to the countries that have not yet benefited. This, he added, is why sensitisation is essential in The Gambia.
Arnie Jarra, Deputy Director Department of State for Fisheries, Water Resources chaired the occasion.