ANR policy review underway
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The department of state for Agriculture, in partnership with the FAO country office, recently concluded a four-day workshop on the review of the Agriculture and National Resources (ANR) policy document.
The workshop, which began last Monday, brought together various stakeholders in the agriculture and natural resource sector, and was held at the Tendaba Camp. The workshop was aimed primarily at reviewing, updating and finalising a policy document that is said to be important in the implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy II.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the permanent secretary at Department of State for Agriculture, Sidi Jarju, said that the outcome of the workshop should capture the new development negatively impacting on agricultural production and productivity at large, and food security and poverty alleviation in particular.
PS Jarjue described the task of preparing the policy as a daunting one. He urged participants to look into the issue of dependance on rainfall for agriculture, which is highly vulnerable, particularly in the face of climate change, as well as water and energy availability and affordability for agricultural production. Also of concern to the Agriculture PS was the issue of soaring food prices. For his part, The FAO resident representative, Babagana Ahmadu, described the ANR sector as a major player in the economy and a key contributor towards meeting the country's priority objective of poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals, and also in reducing hunger by over 50% in the next ten years. The sector, he said, is the only foreseeable source through which food security could be achieved at household level, and he added that it has the potential to be competitive in reducing considerably the import of agricultural commodities that are produced in the country.
According to the FAO country boss, the policy is expected to provide the necessary guidance on the areas in which action should be concentrated in the sector, in order to maximise output from investment by both the public and private sectors. He therefore urged participants to ensure that the course of action being chartered for the policy are appropriate in terms of the country's interest and capacities.
In his statement, the governor of LRR, Momodou Soma Jobe, expressed optimism that at the end of the session, there would emerge an outstanding policy that would be beneficial to the people of the country. He described the ANR sector as a very important tool in the development of agriculture in the country. Bakary Trawally, permanent secretary 2 at the Department of State for Agriculture, said the workshop was meant to come out with a national policy for agriculture and natural resources, which will be relevant to agricultural development.
Author: by Alieu Ceesay