The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors approved an additional $16.08 million on March 4 for The Gambia’s ongoing Agriculture and Food Security Project, aimed at improving food security and increasing incomes for vulnerable households, with a focus on expanding cultivation areas for rice and other crops, expecting to benefit 18,000 small-scale farmers, particularly youth and women.

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group, granted an additional $16.08 million on March 4, to The Gambia to bolster its ongoing Agriculture and Food Security Project, launched in 2021. 

GASFP (Global Agriculture and Food Security Project), a multilateral financing platform dedicated to enhancing the incomes and food security of impoverished communities in developing countries, is the principal contributor to this extra funding. The project’s core objectives remain unchanged: elevating food and nutritional security and improving the incomes of vulnerable households.

As initially planned, the project target area covers the five administration regions of Central River, Upper River, North Bank, Lower River, and West Coast.

To promote the production of climate-resistant local food products in these regions, the project will expand cultivation areas for plant crops, upland crops — groundnuts, maize, millet, cowpea and findi–and rice. The areas being cultivated will increase from 100 hectares (ha) to 150 ha for plant crops, 1,500 ha to 3,000 ha for upland crops, and 3,000 ha to 4,500 ha for rice.

With the funding providing additional support for inputs, productivity is expected to rise, with rice yields increasing from 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) and maize harvests reaching 2.0 t/ha from 1.8. The number of small-scale farmers benefiting directly from the project is projected to increase from 10,000 to 18,000 of whom 50 percent are young people and 52 percent are women.

Through initiatives focusing on social security, improving nutrition, and promoting gender equality, the project will raise the number of school pupils who receive nutritious meals from 131,900 to 203,900 over five years, with girls constituting 52 percent of them. Deworming supplements will be added to complement food to maintain good health and nutrition.

The African Development Bank Group Board of Directors approved the initial grant of $16 million for GAFSP on 21 September 2021, which was supplemented by $1.37 million in counterpart funding from the government of The Gambia.

A progress report highlighting the initial project successes indicates that 63,936 project beneficiaries  — 40 percent of the target – have been reached and that production outcomes have been substantial.  These include 14,000 tonnes of poultry meat, 964,200 tonnes of vegetables, and 167,450 eggs, together generating an estimated income value of $750,000 for the smallholder farmers. The project has also provided nutritious daily meals to 39,397 school-going children (56% girls) through its support for the Homegrown school feeding program and has led to an uptake in primary school enrolments in the project intervention areas.

SOURCE : https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/press-releases/gambia-african-development-bank-approves-supplemental-16-million-boost-agriculture-and-food-security-69175