By Omar Bah
A forum of some 300 participants from all Sahelian and West African countries and development partners discussing food crisis in the two regions has commenced in Banjul yesterday, months after The Gambia government declared a status of food insecurity.This year’s flagship event focuses on food and nutrition issues in West Africa and the Sahel.The week-long forum has become the place-to-be for the region’s food security stakeholders. It offers many opportunities for informal exchanges, networking and building partnerships. The Week was officially launched by the Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon Ousainu Darboe at the Labranda Coral Beach Hotel.
In his opening remarks, VP Darboe thanked the organizers for choosing The Gambia as the host country and reassured them of his government’s commitment towards attaining food security and food self-sufficiency.“The issue of food security and food self-sufficiency is a matter of urgent concern and therefore it requires global efforts. Under the leadership of President Adama Barrow, the government is committed and will continue to ensure that food security and food self-sufficiency is realized,” said VP Darboe.
The government of The Gambia, he added, is fully aware that food security must translate into food nutritional safety and therefore will make the efforts to invest in areas such as water sanitation, education and health.VP Darboe said women of the country also play a critical role in ensuring food security, adding the government is committed to providing efficient technology to ensure there is reduction of the work loads of women.The seminar, the 34th annual meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA), will also debate nutrition issues, food availability and access to food, which is still a key challenge.