27 May The EU funded CESAD Project “Circular Economy in Sustainable Agricultural Development” increases its visibility in the Province
The European Union co-funded project “Circular Economy in Sustainable Agricultural Development” has installed signboards across over a dozen project implementation sites in North Bank Region. The signboards are to inform the general public and project beneficiaries of the ongoing successful project activities in North Bank Region.
The CESAD Project is co-funded by the European Union, which represents the biggest development cooperation partner in The Gambia, thanks to the 11th European Development Fund.
The CESAD initiative is part of the Programme “Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security/Nutrition to mitigate migration flows” which global objective is to contribute to sustainable growth in the agricultural sector and reduce food insecurity and malnutrition to mitigate flows in Europe. The Programme is composed by three mutually supportive components. The first component “Agriculture for Economic Growth” is implemented by the FAO, while the second component “School meals and Disaster Risk management” is carried out by the WFP. The third one “NGO component of the programme” is implemented through 4 different initiatives promoted by NGOs. One of these initiatives is the CESAD Project.
The CESAD Project is implemented by the European Research Institute (ERI) in partnership with the Agency for Development of Women and Children (ADWAC) and the Njawara Agricultural Training Centre (NATC).
The CESAD project sites and beneficiaries in North Bank Region includes Illiassa, Nuimi Lamin, Daru Barakat, Mbatang Kinlling, Conteh Kunda, Alkali Kunda, Salikenye, Minteh Kunda, Illiassa Storage Facility, Conteh Kunda Naiji Storage Facility, Njabakunda Storage Facility, Darsilame Storage Facility, Solicita Cooperative Center, Solicita Food Processing Unit.
The Vision of the CESAD Project is ‘to transform the agricultural sector in the North Bank Region of The Gambia into a profitable business able to generate profit for farmers and create work opportunities for unemployed people.’ For this reason the project support farmers throughout the entire value chain by creating better life conditions for farmers and food security.
The CESAD Project has a total budget of €834,605.00 over three years. The European Union contributes 80% of the amount, while the remaining 20% is funded by the implementing partners. The project started in August 2018 and will phase-out in August 2021.
As food security in Gambia is still influenced by several natural and structural factors that affect the lives and livelihood of rural smallholder farmers, therefore, activities of Circular Economy in Sustainable Agricultural Development project focused on four cardinal areas which include – improving performance and quality of farming practices, providing logistic solutions to storage and distribution of goods, introducing diversity of supply to increase farmers’ resilience and strengthening local capacities for competitive market accessibility.
Discussing the impacts of the CESAD Project on the targeted communities, Mam Samba Joof, Executive Director of Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC), one of the local implementing partners of European Research Institute (ERI) on CESAD Project in North Bank Region extolled the project. He said the project has some very important benefits to the communities. He noted that the CESAD project target has helped to solve one of the key problems, storage facility, women farmers are facing in North Bank Region.
According to him in the past, the inability of women to keep their farm produce for long period of time made them to sell at lost. Hence lots of the women farmers bring their produce to markets at same time when they are harvested. To avoid rotten and wastage they always sell those farm produce at a giveaway prices as they are perishable items.
“With the advent of CESAD project, the women are now having access to storage facilities they can now keep their farm produce for as long period as possible. Also, they can now keep them till the market price is favorable to them, too,” noted Mam Samba Joof, Executive Director of Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC).
However, the whole idea behind the storage facility is to enable them store their farm produce if they cannot market them all at a time. In addition, not all of them have skills to transform them into value added product.
More so, he noted that CESAD project helps enhance marketing their produce and one of the key objectives of the project is to facilitate the mobility of the women produce to market.
The project already completed first level and now on second level. The first level was meant to improve production which has been done already and the second level is the storage which is meant to enhance storage and marketing. And the whole idea is to enable them to build new markets rather relying only on the traditional market, while the third level is to enhance the transportation of their produce from garden to storage site and wherever they demand for them.
The Alkalo of Salikinye, Junkung Dibba on behalf of over one hundred women farmers working in the communal garden in his community commended sponsor and implementers of the project. He said the CESAD Project enable them to realize year round gardening now.
Karamo Marong, the manager of Niumi Lamin Communal Garden, gave a detailed explanation of what their garden produce. He disclosed that over two hundred women are working in the garden constructed for them by CESAD project. He however thanked the CESAD project and partners for helping them to improve in their production.
Mama MK Manneh, Executive Director of Njawara Agricultural Training Center (NATC) disclosed that the CESAD project was designed to help the women vegetable growers with aims to remove some of their burdens in term of marketing and access to market, production and increase productivity.
He disclosed that the project is making huge impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the beneficiaries which are women who are very vulnerable to the effect of climate change.
He rated the CESAD project to be a sustainable project. On behalf of the beneficiaries he thanked the management team and European Union for funding the project.
For her part, Fatoumatta Jagne president of SOLICITA thanked the CESAD project on behalf of the beneficiary communities. And she said the first support the project did for them was building cold stores which was there major challenged.
Ms Jagne said the best practices the project exposed them improved productivity in both quality and quantity compare before the project what they used to harvest.
According to her, SOLICITA consists of 43 villages and over 7000 registered members across North Bank Region. “Our main challenge was access to markets and the CESAD project addressed it for us because the project trained us how to access market information and know the daily markets prices before going to the market”, she point out.
She said they make choice either to sell or keep their produce in the cold stores until there are good prices in the markets and thanks to CESAD they can keep produce for long time without perishing.
The installation of billboards was the occasion to stress to the local communities the importance of social distancing and of the hygiene measures imposed by the spread of COVID-19. Project partners highlighted the importance of these efforts with a view on the next months to ensure the protection of rural communities.
On behalf of the CESAD Project team and of the local communities a special thanks goes to to European Union for its constant support and for its commitment in sharing achievement and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the European Research Institute Onlus and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.