GAMBIA – The French Development Agency (AFD) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a €7 million (US$8m) grant agreement to support the implementation of the “Resilience of Organizations for Transformative Smallholder Agriculture” (ROOTS) project in Gambia.

The project aims to improve food security, nutrition and smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate change in the West African country.

According to IFAD, the project aims to increase agricultural productivity, enhance access to markets for agricultural products, and raise support family farms and farmer organizations.

 With a total cost of US$ 80.59 million, in addition to the AFD grant, ROOTS is co-financed by IFAD (US$ 21.27 million), the OPEC Fund for International Development (US$10 million), the Global Environment Fund (US$ 5.3 million), the Government of The Gambia (US$5.41 million) and the beneficiaries themselves (US$6.25 million).

An additional financing source will be identified to fit the US$20.6 million.  

Agriculture is the principal source of livelihood for the rural population, it provides employment for approximately 70% of the population but contributes only 24% of the GDP.

Rural poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition are closely associated with low agricultural productivity, which affects the most vulnerable groups, namely women and youth.       

The project is taking place in a context of high food insecurity in The Gambia, which remains heavily dependent on food imports.

In 2014 the national rice development strategy emphasized that only 17% of the annual consumption of rice comes from the national production, whereas it is the staple food of the population.

This low rate of coverage of national rice needs, justifies the priority given by the government to the development of the rice sector, as well as the objective set in the National Development Plan (2018-2021) of achieving self-sufficiency in rice.

Addressing these major challenges on food security, the project will be implemented in the 5 rural regions of The Gambia, and will reach 40,000 farming households, corresponding to 320,000 people (14% of the population).

In February 2018, at the International Donors’ conference in Brussels, France committed to grant € 50 million (US$57m) in support to The Gambia.

With this new funding, the AFD portfolio in The Gambia now totals € 32.5 million (US$37.5m) in grants. 

By further concretizing France’s commitment to its Gambian partners, this additional project is in line with the priorities defined by the Government of the Republic of the Gambia.

Recently, Gambia received US$1.5m from the Government of Japan, aimed to provide nutrition response to 40,000 vulnerable food insecure people through World Food Programme initiative.

With this contribution WFP will provide fortified blended foods to malnourished children under 5, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and mothers living with HIV to address moderate acute malnutrition.

WFP will also support nutrition education and awareness raising to increase the knowledge and skills of caregivers, mothers, adolescent girls, households and community leaders in best feeding practices.

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