By: Modou Touray
The president of the National Farmers Platform, the Gambia Mr Sheriffo Bojang has frowned upon the wrong representation of farmers at overseas seminars, conferences, and important agricultural forums meant for farmers engaging in functional agriculture. Mr Bojang expressed disappointment that scrambling for per diem and allowances lead to the manipulations of the selection process.
“Farmers want to be fully represented in the Conference of Parties (COP) which is an international conference of stakeholders in agriculture, climate change and biodiversity. I call on the Ministry of Agriculture and other concerned bodies responsible for identifying participants to choose the right people. The Conference of Parties (COP), the 27th edition is approaching, and we are faced with who is going to represent us,” Mr Bojang stated.
He further challenges the agricultural authorities to bring scattered Agric groups together for smooth coordination which he stressed is indeed timely.
“We have different farmers groups who are independently implementing their projects with various government departments and agencies. Our farmers produce crops, and the foreign traders buy them and value-added them and sold to us. If we unite together, we could end this system and empower our own farmers,” he stressed.
Mr Bojang spoke at length on the need to ensure food security and empower local farmers which is all geared towards the selection of proper persons to highlight the plight of Gambian farmers at international forums.
“The international conference I just attended in Vietnam was focused on how the forest and farm facility projects are implemented worldwide and all participating countries were all given the opportunity to narrate their own way and level of implementation,” he said.
In the Gambia, the National Farmers’ Platform is implemented with their partners, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Natural Resources consulting (NACO).
The Farmers’ Platform president was speaking at a meeting he convened at his office in Brikama to share the outcome of his trip to farmers.
“It is important to give feedback after attending a program on behalf of farmers. This is a norm here, you must prepare a report of programs you attend so that even if you are not here, those coming will reference it.”
He discourages the culture of attending international conferences without sharing the outcome with the farmers whom you represent, noting that the impact of the overseas trips on agriculture must be felt.
The international conference Mr Bojang attended on behalf of Gambia farmers brought together farmers’ representatives to discuss how business models can foster food diversification not uniformity.
The conference according to Mr Bojang, enhanced peer learning through south-south and triangular cooperation and also engendered share innovative examples of inclusive climate resilient business models, financing structures, enabling policy environments and messaging championed by forest and farm producer organisations.