By Madiba Singhateh
Dawda Badjie, Deputy Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA) together with stakeholders, on Tuesday 6th June 2021 validated the Environment and Social Management framework for Resilience of Organizations on Transformative smallholder Agriculture Program (ROOTS) at a local hotel.
According to the authorities of the NEA and stakeholders, the ROOTS project intends to capitalize on the IFAD experience in reducing poverty in the Gambia, by supporting women resilience and youth inclusion, and nutrient sensitive value chains.
Badjie said the project aims to improve food security, nutrition and smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate change in The Gambia.
“In addition, the Project’s development objectives is to increase agricultural productivity and access to markets for enhanced food security and nutrition, and resilience of family farms and farmer organizations,” he said. He said the development of the environment and social management framework of the project by ROOTS PCU, shows a clear testimony to consider the country’s environment in any development venture by the Ministry and the country as a whole.
“The ESMF here before you provides a general potential impact identification framework to assist project implementers to screen the project and institute measures to address adverse environmental and social impacts associated with its implementation through specific ESMPs in and around the project. If we fail to plan in considering environmental and social aspects of perceive projects, we are planning to fail in our eventual project implementation to safeguard our planet in which we all depend for our livelihoods,” Badjie said.
The project which also builds on the success of the NEMA project’s contribution to the development of rice and horticulture, further seeks to consolidate and scale-up climate resilience in upland and lowland rice production and community vegetables gardening. The project which will be implemented in five administrative regions and thirty nine districts, targets forty thousand households as direct beneficiaries.
Speaking at the validation, the Director of ROOTS project Mamour Alieu Jagne, said it will be implemented in thirty nine administrative districts with the outlined objective of improving farmers’ lot particularly in rice and vegetable value chain production and consumption; that this will be implemented in climate resilient areas in a sustainable manner, as one of the main reasons for the validation.
Jagne said IFAD is the principal provider of funds for the roots project with a total budget of $80 million.
“IFAD is very committed in managing environmental and social risks within its projects and programs and this is therefore in line with poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture. The validation will promote sustainable and climate resilience, natural resources management and an economic base for rural people,” he said.
Jagne further said that ESMF is built on the Social and Environment and climate assessment policies; that the ROOTS project is graded as category B, and not much environmental damage is expected during its implementation and duration. He said $2.4 million has been earmarked to deal with any possible damage and to monitor the environmental impact of the project.