The French Development Agency and the International Fund for Agricultural Development join hands to promote food security and sustainable agriculture in the Republic of The Gambia.

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Rome, 4 November 2021 – On 1 November 2021, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will sign a €7 million grant agreement to support the implementation of the project “Resilience of Organizations for Transformative Smallholder Agriculture” (ROOTS). The project aims to improve food security, nutrition and smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate change in The Gambia.

The signing ceremony will take place in Banjul, in the presence of Mr. Hassan Jallow, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Of Agriculture ; His Excellency Philippe LALLIOT, Ambassador of France in Senegal and The Gambia ; Haoua SIENTA, IFAD Country Director for The Gambia ; and Mrs. Sophie DERUDDER, Deputy director of the AFD regional agency of Dakar. The Gambian government is represented by its Ministry of Agriculture, designated as the executing agency of the project.

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 in support to The Gambia. With this new funding, the AFD portfolio in The Gambia now totals € 32.5 million 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.

Since 1982, IFAD has financed 11 rural development programmes and projects in The Gambia for a total cost of US$ 288.13 million, with an IFAD investment of US$113.53 million, directly benefiting 195,069 rural households

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