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All Hands to Mouth

An Integrated sustainable food ecosystem in a changing climate to promote nutrition, women and youth employment and rural economic growth.

Photo of Abdul Hakim Jawara
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Kaizen Consulting Services

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources of The Gambia Ministry of Agriculture National Agricultural Research Institute National Association of Women Farmers (NAWFA) National Coordinating Organisation of Farmer Associations (NACOFAG) Ministry of Agriculture (Department of livestock) The Gambia Food Safety and Quality Authority The Gambia Standards Bureau Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) FISHCOM Gambia Women's Chamber of Commerce Ministry of Youths and Sports

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Serrekunda

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

The Gambia

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The Gambia

What country is your selected Place located in?

The Gambia

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

The Gambia is where all members of our team were born and raised, we all had different roles in the food sector over the years, be it agriculture, food processing, food safety, standard compliance,policy making, trade, environment etc. Besides the huge potential the Gambia has for agriculture, we have all witnessed the deterioration of our food system over the years and the negative socio-economic impacts these changes have effected on the Gambian society. there has been increased malnutrition, illegal migration, desertification, over exploitation of fisheries resources, etc. The future of our people will be bleak if nothing is done now to mitigate these problems. Our hearts bleed for the dire state the country is in and there is nothing that will please us more that solving these problems. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Gambia is arguably one of the safest and friendliest places in Africa. We Gambia pride ourselves in our incredible natural landscape, ethnic diversity, religious tolerance and amazing local cuisine. It also boasts of a number of historical buildings, monuments and archeological sites some of which are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage

The Gambia is also the home of Kunta Kinte, popularized in Alex Haley’s critically acclaimed book Roots; The Saga of an American. The bestselling novel tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th century Gambian, captured and sold into slavery.

The cuisine of the Gambia includes peanuts, rice, fish, meat, onions, tomatoes, cassava, chili peppers and oysters from the River Gambia that are harvested by women. In particular, yassa (grilled fish) and domoda (peanut soup) curries are popular with locals and tourists.

The Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambia River. It lies between latitudes 13 and 14°N, and longitudes 13 and 17°W. The Gambia has a population of 2 million inhabitants.

Senegal surrounds The Gambia on three sides, with 80 km (50 mi) of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean marking its western extremity.

Article 25 of the  Gambian constitution protects the rights of citizens to practice any religion that they choose. Islam is practised by 95% of the country's population.The majority of the Muslims in the Gambia adhere to Sunni laws and traditions.

Ranked at 175 out of 188 countries, the UNDP’s 2015 Human Development Index classifies The Gambia as Least Developed. With a population of around 1.9 million and a GDP per capita of approximately EURO 400, the country is poor. 


What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

11295

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

2101000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Despite potential for inclusive growth, improved food security and poverty reduction, the food sector is affected by a number of constraints. Among these are weak research and extension systems leading to inappropriate/unsustainable  farming practices and pest control; low yields ; limited arable land irrigation (around 5%); inadequate storage facilities and other infrastructures; lack of entrepreneurial culture; limited access to markets, market information and especially to finance, credit  and insurance; deficiencies in food safety and quality control; low level of vulnerable smallholder producers participation in value chains and end markets; limited value-addition and processing facilities and missing linkages within and between the value chains, poor organization and policy frameworks for cooperatives.

Of particular note, the country is witnessing climate change  and has identified priority adaptation measures aimed at different and critical sectors of the national economy, including agriculture, health, forestry, and rangelands. Some of the top priorities are to select crop and grass varieties that are more resistant to droughts, pests, and salinity; establish, expand, and restore natural forests and rangelands; establish vector control programs and public health education and awareness programs. 

On the issue of migration, the large numbers now going overland to Europe are predominately low skilled young males seeking better economic prospects. They come from large rural families living in poverty. They are escaping an economy with few job opportunities and limited growth prospects. Uncertainty at home is compounded by a perceived growing threat of crises (climate change or other) and a difficult domestic political environment.

Furthermore, The Gambia is facing chronic food insecurity and different forms of malnutrition, and a declining ability of vulnerable rural communities to cope due to recurrent drought crises. The stunting prevalence in children under five is high (22.9%) while the rates of acute malnutrition are placed at critical level (10.3%). Micronutrient deficiencies are wide-spread across the country, affecting particularly children and women.

I

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

The vision shall be carried out in the following locations North Bank Region (NBR), Central River Region (CRR), Lower River Region (LRR) and Upper River Region (URR), in some cases, complementing ongoing projects. Each region in The Gambia is unique in the sense that it can produce a specific crop, The vision will take a multi sectorial approach in solving the problems listed in the prior question, we will introduce community based aquaponics farms in each community. this will enable year long farming, fish production, nutrition and food security and create employment. The steps to accomplish this are highlighted below

STEP 1 Strengthened extension services and farmer capacities (including climate SMART agriculture and aquaponics)

STEP 2: Increased sustainable production/productivity/diversification and enhanced quality of selected agricultural crops and livestock .

STEP 3 Improved functioning of national cooperatives and food SME association bodies in agricultural sector

STEP 4: Better market access for smallholders (development of value chain opportunities, access to rural finance, access roads) – FAO/NGOs.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

With these challanges addressed, communities will be able to produce all what they need and the rest will be marketed for economic gains, this will boost agriculture, create employment, as well boost the standard of living of the rural communities.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Despite potential for inclusive growth, improved food security and poverty reduction, the food sector is affected by a number of constraints. Among these are weak research and extension systems leading to inappropriate/unsustainable farming practices and pest control; low yields ; limited arable land irrigation (around 5%); inadequate storage facilities and other infrastructures; lack of entrepreneurial culture; limited access to markets, market information and especially to finance, credit and insurance; deficiencies in food safety and quality control; low level of vulnerable smallholder producers participation in value chains and end markets; limited value-addition and processing facilities and missing linkages within and between the value chains, poor organization and policy frameworks for cooperatives.

Of particular note, the country is witnessing climate change and has identified priority adaptation measures aimed at different and critical sectors of the national economy, including agriculture, health, forestry, and rangelands. Some of the top priorities are to select crop and grass varieties that are more resistant to droughts, pests, and salinity; establish, expand, and restore natural forests and rangelands; establish vector control programs and public health education and awareness programs.

On the issue of migration, the large numbers now going overland to Europe are predominately low skilled young males seeking better economic prospects. They come from large rural families living in poverty. They are escaping an economy with few job opportunities and limited growth prospects. Uncertainty at home is compounded by a perceived growing threat of crises (climate change or other) and a difficult domestic political environment.

Generally Gambian agriculture has been characterised by subsistence production of food crops, comprising cereals (early millet, late millet, maize, sorghum, rice), semi intensive cash crop production (groundnut, cotton, sesame and horticulture).The crops sub-sector generates approximately 40% of the foreign exchange earnings and provides about 75% of total household income. The crop-sub-sector employs 70 percent of the labour force, and accounts for about 30% of GDP of the country. Gambia groundnuts have beeen banned from the EU due to high aflatoxin contents, it is exported to Asia as wild animal feed, which commands 75% lower prices.

Furthermore, The Gambia is facing chronic food insecurity and different forms of malnutrition, and a declining ability of vulnerable rural communities to cope due to recurrent drought crises. The stunting prevalence in children under five is high (22.9%) while the rates of acute malnutrition are placed at critical level (10.3%). Micronutrient deficiencies are wide-spread across the country, affecting particularly children and women.

According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), The Gambia is at the top of the list of 100 countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially weather related hazards such as drought, windstorms, floods and rising sea levels.

In regards of the fisheries sector, according to FAO, catch fisheries have stagnated over the last 20 years. That couple with large scale industrial fishing in the Gambian waters had let to the reduction of fish consumption in the Gambia, which is the biggest source of protein and some minerals for the population. Hence there is a need to move away from catch fisheries and introduce aquaculture in the Gambia, which at the moment accounts for less than 2% of all fisheries products.

The vision shall be carried out in the following locations North Bank Region (NBR), Central River Region (CRR), Lower River Region (LRR) and Upper River Region (URR), in some cases, complementing ongoing projects. Each region in The Gambia is unique in the sense that it can produce a specific crop, The vision will take a multi sectorial approach in solving the problems listed in the prior question, we will introduce community based aquaponics farms in each community. this will enable year long farming, fish production, nutrition and food security and create employment. Emphasis will also be made on value addition, community based crude groundnut oil pressers will be installed in rural areas and villages, the crude groundnut oil from these centers will me moved to a central refining unit, owned by the communities, each communuties share of the profits will be how much crude they can produce after production costs have been deducted. This will ensure that farmers will not have to rely on exports of groundnuts and this in turn can me commercialized nationally. the steps to accomplish this are highlighted below

STEP 1 Strengthened extension services and farmer capacities (including climate SMART agriculture and aquaponics)

Conduct a comprehensive institutional assessment of the national agricultural extension system/services and propose an extension reform to improve impact.

Based on the above review, develop a comprehensive national agricultural extension policy and strategy with emphasis on aquaponics and oil pressing.

Strengthen capacity in extension delivery through support communication and pedagogic materials and use of ICT including mobile phones.

Support three farmer learning and demonstration centres employing climate-sensitive approaches such as agro-ecology and eco-restoration targeting rural youths and women farmers.

STEP 2: Increased sustainable production/productivity/diversification and enhanced quality of selected agricultural crops and livestock .

Support for scaling up of adapted Climate Smart/Resilience Agriculture and aquaponics practices that promote food security and nutrition, such as conservation farming techniques,agro-forestry nurseries, food processing and preservation, and crop by-products.

Support to improved water control - i.e. pilot rain water harvesting and proper drainage of flood-prone areas paying special attention to creating youth employment.

Support pest and disease surveillance, mitigation and reporting.

Support risk-based inspection in Quality Assurance Framework and risk profiling of identified priority hazards (sesame etc, poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy), sampling and monitoring of chemical residues and food safety parameters including mycotoxins

Support the development of regulations and standards

Support to policy and advocacy efforts at securing land rights for women especially on lowlands and vegetable gardens.

Increased access to quality food via social safety nets for improved nutritional status –WFP/NGOs by creatin local food banks.

Facilitate access to diversified food and promote nutrition education as well as consumption of quality nutritious, traditional foods in vulnerable rural communities.

STEP 3 Improved functioning of national cooperatives and food SME association bodies in agricultural sector

Conduct an institutional assessment of agricultural cooperatives and SME associations and replicate successful models practiced in other countries.

Support the development of a comprehensive national cooperative policy ensuring a cross-analysis with agricultural and trade policies and relevant legislative frameworks.

Appraise the constraints of a select number of agri-food SMEs procuring from smallholders to identify policy and legislative bottlenecks.

Strengthen the capacity of cooperative service providers (capacity building and mobility) to serve Agricultural Producer Organizations and SME associations. Including not only NGOs, but universities and technical colleges responsible for training agribusiness professionals.

Strengthen the capacity of value chain actors e.g. aquaponics, sesame, poultry, and national associations and their networks and platforms (governance, cooperative principles, entrepreneurship, literacy/numeracy, etc.).

STEP 4: Better market access for smallholders (development of value chain opportunities, access to rural finance, access roads) – FAO/NGOs.

Develop sustainable pro-poor outgrower models for selected high-value crops/livestock and provide capacity support to implement them.

Update value chain analyses on selected agro-commodities which have potential to enhance smallholder access to markets.

Carry out an appraisal of commercial and development financial services providers, including ongoing investment and finance programmes, to assess their viability for access by small-farmers and enterprises in the agricultural sector.

Provide entrepreneurship and finance access support to value-addition/value-added services for smallholder value chains and agri-food SMEs (agro-processors, input dealers/ suppliers, small scale agri-equipment manufacturers and dealers, specialist service providers and non-bank financial institutions).

Support value chain infrastructure for communities and associations (processing units and community garden access roads).

Support to expand market linkage opportunities for priority high-value agro-commodities (trade fairs, field and farmers’ market days, agri-business fora, producer/buyer networks, commodity networks & platforms, etc.). This activity will, where feasible, replicate aspects of WFP’s successful P4P model of rice procurement from farmer groups to school feeding programmes.

With these challanges addressed, communities will be able to produce all what they need and the rest will be marketed for economic gains, this will boost agriculture, create employment, as well boost the standard of living of the rural communities.

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Photo of Kehinde Fashua
Team

Hi Abdul Hakim Jawara welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
As we begin the countdown to deadline day, please make sure you have reviewed your final submission through the Pocket Guide to support you through the final hours of wrapping up your submission. This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision. Here is the link to the pocket guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o8WGMus6-V8GywWdlNwmCpk7I1fMVzcQ/view
Look forward to seeing your submission finalized by 31st January, 5:00 pm EST.