By Cherno Omar Bobb
Department of Planning Services under the Ministry of Agriculture last Tuesday reviewed The Gambia’s Performance in the Third Biennial Report at NaNA conference hall.
The African Union Commission initiated a comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Biennial Review Report which is the main mutual accountability tool to track the progress of the African Union (AU) member states in implementing the Malabo Declaration of 2014 focusing on Agricultural growth and poverty reduction based on its seven commitments.
The Gambia as a signatory to the Malabo declaration submitted its Third Biennial Report to the African Union through the Regional Economic Community (REC). The report consisted of data collection and collation of forty-seven indicators that measure economic progress, poverty reduction, agricultural growth, trade facilitation, resilience, food safety, government expenditure, and mutual accountability.
Francis Mendy, Director of Planning at the Department of Planning Services, Ministry of Agriculture described the review as significant and therefore called on participants to do justice to the report in the interest of the country.
He added that all the information needed in processing the report was generated through secondary data and Department of Planning Services as the custodian of agricultural data and natural resources is limited in capacity to all the data.
Director Mendy noted that data is across the board which was why they invited stakeholders to ensure there is ownership of the data collection process.
Agriculture is limited with funding gaps even though it is a productive sector, he stated, adding that a lot of resources is needed to support a productive sector.
He also described agriculture as a risk enterprise, saying limited funds allocated to agriculture make it very difficult to implement most of the activities under the sector.
Fatmata Seiwoh, ECOWAP/CAADP Monitoring and Evaluation Programme Officer said it is extremely important that reports are not only prepared but critic when they are done.
She expressed their willingness to ensure Gambia agricultural sector reaches its desired target as well as impacts The Gambia population.
Samba Barrow, Economic Statistics Director at The Gambia Bureau of Statistics said institutions, policy makers, researchers and students all need information which is gathered through data, adding that data is very important because it affords one an informed choice making.
According to him, one cannot make an informed decision without having appropriate and relevant data to inform any activity or process.
“We need data as a country and people to be able to plan for ourselves, families and the future generation,” he highlighted, noting that Agriculture contributes about 24% to GDP and we need to ensure that data collected from the agricultural sector is comprehensive and covers all sectors of the economy and is able to estimate agricultural production meaningfully.