“Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All”
By ML Touray
Close to two hundred rural women joined by government dignitaries, representatives of civil society organisations and local authorities, gathered at Kudang Basic Cycle School to commemorate International Day of Rural Women. The event was organized by ActionAid International The Gambia in partnership with the Rural Women’s Assembly. The global theme for this year is: “Rural Women Confront the Global Cost-of-living Crisis”. In The Gambia, the theme selected is: “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All”.
In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Sainey Mbye, the Deputy Governor of CRR commended ActionAid for choosing CRR for the commemoration of this year’s Rural Women’s Day. He said that ActionAid’s contribution in CRR is immense, and therefore the theme should have been ‘Rural Women Producing Good Food for All” since ActionAid has been supporting women to embark on gardening, poultry and small ruminant production.
Representing the Executive Director of AAITG, Mr. Fafa O. Cham, Head of Programmes and Policy, reiterates ActionAid’s commitment to empowering rural women. Cham stated that rural women produce most of the food that is consumed at household level, yet they only own 10% of the land.
"AAITG is working to increase gender equality by training women on climate resilient sustainable agriculture (CRSA) and providing them with farm implements like sine hoes, seeders and a donkey,” said Mr. Cham.
Mr. Saikou Darboe, AAITG’s LRP 9 Manager, who is also the Global Platform National Representative, gave a background on the Global Platform and ActionAid’s Climate Justice Campaign. Darboe stated that food security cannot be achieved without combating climate change. For that reason, ActionAid launched a campaign on climate justice. He also cited some examples where farmers cultivate a vast area of land but ended up getting very little harvest due to climate change. Mr. Darboe urged the government to encourage the use of organic fertilizer.
Ms. Fatou Trawally, the Secretary General of the Rural Women’s Assembly presented a list of demands from the rural women. Ms. Trawally commended government for fulfilling some of last year’s demands such as reducing the price of fertilizer, providing viable seeds to farmers, the provision of vegetable gardens through the Roots project. However, she urged government through the Minister of Agriculture, to consider other pressing issues such as women’s land ownership for sustainable agriculture, provide food processing centres, put stringent laws against tree felling and charcoal burning, put an end to maternal mortality and control the importation of poor-quality medicines into the country.
After receiving the demands, the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Demba Sabally assured the rural women that their demands will be brought before cabinet.
Minister Sabally said that his ministry recognizes the importance of women in the Gambian Food system from policy, programming and implementation of programmes and projects along all value chains.
“Women face many inequalities and challenges that limit their potential and impact on food and nutrition security. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key factors for achieving food security and nutrition for all,” said Minister Sabally.
Tabou Njie Sarr, AAITG’s Women’s Rights Manager moderated the event and Binta Ceesay, LRP 8 and 11 Manager delivered the closing remarks.
The occasion was also marked by musical entertainment and traditional drummers.