National Workshop on setting National Network for Food Security Policies on Monitoring and Evaluation in the Gambia

 

DOP organised, with support of CILSS, a two-day Workshop at Baobab Holiday Resort in Kololi from the 20th to 21stFebruary, 2013. The aim of the Workshop is to set up a national network: Create the conditions for a structural Food Security based primarily on the systematic mobilization and sustainable food resources in the sub-region; and building the capacity for prevention and management of food and nutrition crises.

The goal of food security is to assure access for all Gambians sufficient food quality that allows them to satisfy their energy needs for a healthy life for 2020, which is also complemented by the Sahelian Goal to ensure sustainable food security and reduce poverty and inequalities in the Sahel by 2015.

The DPS for CONACILSS addressing the participants reassured the participants of the Gambia Government’s continuous support in the creation of an enabling environment to carry such undertakings. He added that relevant indicators are required to be used to be able to measure and combat food insecurity. Thus, strategies are needed to be developed to create a mechanism for food security. This is because food security cuts across all sectors of the economy. Therefore, it requires the mobilization of resources and intergovernmental interventions in other to diversify Agriculture. He reiterated that building capacity and taking stocks of all requirements are needed in its attainment. 

In addition, he reiterated that the government of the Gambia’s programme “Grow what you eat and eat what you grow” is in connection to food security issues. He assured the Workshop that the Government of the Gambia is truly in support of the initiative.

Presentations were followed by discussions on each of the topic covered. The first presentation was delivered by PSU (DOA) who presented on ‘the National food security strategy of the Gambia’. The presenter painted it as a major challenge for all member countries. He strongly emphasises that policy development on food security; and relate it to inadequate soil management and being unable to maximise crop productivity.

He expounded that strategies development to overcome food security is needed and the outcome is key as far as food security is concern. He told the participants that the relevant indicators are meant to fulfil the objective of the Gambia blue print Vision 2020 as well as improve markets to have access to food security. Thus, for the purpose of food security relevant indicators are developed. He told the participants that five indicators should be developed to support the strategies of each action point. The long-term mechanism should also be able to address food security problems.

He reiterated that the acquisition of land, water and soil sustainability should also be considered in order to attain the aforementioned.  Access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizers by the vulnerable population should be considered as well as develop preventive measures to combat them.

The legislative aspect of food security should be considered as policy plays a very key role in the attainment of food security. Finally, he anchored his presentation by concluding that measures should be taken to address the fulfilment of all targets for food security at national and regional level.

CILSS presentation was more on Monitoring and Evaluation on the topic ‘the Regional frame work of food security policies Monitoring and Evaluation’. He said, there are four axis related to addressing food security which point-out the mechanism for each indicator. Therefore, all tools have to be used to fine tune the problem food security. Thus, the network should come up with indicators for decision making. The indicators should be able to provide information to the government in order to make good decisions for implementation.

In addition, he said, relevant indicators on livestock, horticulture and other products could be looked at to determine our level of food security. Cereal Balance sheet was identified as being not enough to fulfil the attainment of food security. The workshop was task to identify what methods are needed to be able to harmonise from a single methodology. He reported that the CILSS Secretariat is working towards addressing the challenges with regards to food security issues.