As the food crisis continues to hang over the head of millions of people, various actions have been initiated in The Gambia so as to reverse its negative impact. Despite the United Nations’ promise to halve hunger by 2015, almost 950 million persons still go to bed with empty stomach.
Action Aid, a non-governmental organisation, with its development partners, has embarked on a hunger free campaign. Putting women at the centre stage of its campaign, the occasion seeks provide a platform for women to take action against hunger, the food crisis and the discrimination that they face in the production of food. Women hold the key to ending hunger in The Gambia, as they produce more than 90% of the locally produced rice.
Started on Wednesday 15 October, 2008, the countrywide tour held its first meeting in Kerewan. Participants from surrounding villages and Kerewan stormed the locality in order to mark this great occasion.
Speaking at the meeting in Kerewan, the National Assembly member for Central Baddibu, Honorable Momodou Touray, assured the gathering that his region would fully support Action Aid on their campaign to issue lands to women since they produce 90% of the locally consumed rice. He then added that North Bank is always ready to support such campaigns.
For his part, the president of the National Women Farmers Association (NAWFA), Njagga Jawo, explained that the objective of the campaign is to eradicate hunger in the country. He said this could only be done if lands were allocated to the women permanently since they produce 90% of the food.
According to him, although they already have some land, women still need more.
For her part, Jainaba Nyang-Njie, the Womens’ Right manager, Action Aid, seized the opportunity to give an overview of the campaign to eradicate hunger in the country. She explained that the programme had started four years ago. During that period, she noted, Action Aid had come to realise that women were really contributing to food security, but that they were facing some constraints such as land accessibility, water and fertilisers.
According to her, Action Aid had been, over the years, working with NAWFA, ADWAC, and AFET in order to eradicate hunger in the country by supporting women. She said urged the women to express their problems as they would be presented to the National Assembly Speaker on the 21st of this month, at the Buffer Zone.
Ya Agi Say Panneh, who praised women for their untiring efforts at ensuring food security, commended the President for empowering women.
In his address, the governor of NBR, Edward Seckan, recommended that the day be called the Women’s and Agriculture Day. He assured the gathering, on behalf of the president and the government of The Gambia, of their full support for women. He also expressed his gratitude to Action Aid The Gambia. The caravan is schedulled to hold a meeting in Wassu today.