EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: On Wednesday, The Gambia joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Food Day and the International Day for Rural Women at the West Coast Region governor’s office in Brikama.
The day was celebrated with a marchpast from the Castle Petrol station to the governor’s office, characterised with display of performance, food products and statements by officials. The theme of this year’s celebration is: Our actions are our future, healthy diets for a #zero-hunger world.
World Food Day is an international day celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Gambia’ Agriculture Minister, Amie Fabureh said the event promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutrition diets for all.
She said this year, World Food Day intents to remind every country of its fundamental political commitment to humanity and the eradication of all forms of malnutrition and raise awareness that achieving a zero-hunger world by 2030.
“However, we are aware of the huge challenges that face our countries in our drive to end hunger as malnutrition continues to be a major public health problem with the most vulnerable groups been women and children, majority of whom live in the rural areas.”
Shibu Rampeds, FAO country representative said zero hunger is not only about addressing hunger, but also nourishing people while nurturing their planet, saying it is important that people intensify food production. “We should make more efforts to address healthy diets and be more active and avoid been less active on day to day basis. The challenge to ensure that everybody have healthy diet is a worldwide challenge, including The Gambia, where it is found that hunger and obesity co-exist,” Rampeds added.
She said national statistics indicate that malnutrition in all its forms remain unacceptably high and that is a major obstacle to the zero-hunger target.
World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO’s Member Countries at the Organization’s 20th General Conference in November 1979. The Hungarian Delegation, led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food Dr. Pál Romány, played an active role at the 20th Session of the FAO Conference and suggested the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.
Madam Rampeds said in The Gambia, FAO has made immense contribution towards achieving healthy diets and their interventions were aimed at contributing to healthy diets. “We cannot achieve zero-hunger target without the full participation of rural women in particular. Rural women produce and prepare most of the food we consume. I therefore want to salute and congratulate them for their contribution to humanity,” she emphasised.
West Coast Region governor Bakary Sanyang said they are aware that despite the significance of agriculture as a laying factor of the economies of developing countries, the sector is starved of investment.
He said there is need for attitudinal change if people want to attain the zero-hunger world target, adding that Gambia government will continue to create the enabling environment for all the players and stakeholders to ensure that there is adequate food for all.
Speaking on behalf of the rural women, Jaywo Jallow said major farming activities is done by women, especially those in the rural Gambia, but said there is no enough land for cultivation. She called on the government to come to their aid in giving them enough land to cultivate their crops.
“We are born here; we don’t want to go anywhere. Land inheritance should be shared equally between men and women because women are the movers of any nation,” madam Jallow said.
She said The Gambia should inculcate in the laws for women to have their equal share of the land.