Empowering Gambia’s Food Processors: Regional Consultations Foster Growth and Collaboration

On Wednesday, July 19, 2023, a momentous collaboration between the National Coordinating Organization for Farmers Associations in the Gambia (NACOFAG) and the ROOTS Project brought together key stakeholders to support the National Association of Food Processors (NAFP). This endeavor involved conducting Regional Consultations across the six Agricultural Regions and the Greater Banjul Area, aimed at reorganizing the membership, governance structure, and partnership building of the association at the regional level.

The primary objective of the consultation was to foster a reinvigorated membership within the National Association of Food Processors. This process involved restructuring regional committees, clarifying roles and responsibilities, and ensuring access to crucial information, markets, and stakeholders. Through a decentralized approach, the consultation paved the way for preparing both Regional and National Congresses, ensuring grassroots participation in decision-making and policy formulation.

The event also placed considerable emphasis on mapping and identifying essential information about the food processors. This included capturing addresses, contacts, gender data, and the three main products of each processor. To facilitate communication and collaboration, the establishment of Regional and National WhatsApp groups, emails, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts was central to the consultation’s objectives.

In addition to these technological initiatives, the consultation sought to enhance the visibility of the National Association of Food Processors. Regional radio talk shows were organized to educate the public about the association’s role in household food security, nutrition, income generation, and employment opportunities. Special emphasis was placed on contract negotiations with producers, particularly those involved in rice, vegetables, poultry, and cereal production.

The joint efforts of NACOFAG, the ROOTS Project, and the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), aimed to mobilize and consolidate the Food Processors fraternity into a cohesive and united National Association of Food Processors. This unity would enable food processors to collectively address challenges, advocate for their interests, and benefit from shared resources and knowledge.

Furthermore, the ROOTS Project committed to supporting the institutional strengthening of the National Association of Food Processors. Among the various initiatives, the project would aid in the establishment of the association’s Secretariat, a central hub to coordinate activities and enhance communication. Additionally, the project would focus on capacity building along the value chain, offering support in areas such as packaging, labeling, branding, quality assurance, safety standards, and certification.

The Regional Consultations were scheduled to conclude on August 3, 2023, marking the beginning of a promising journey for Gambia’s food processors. The cooperation between stakeholders and the commitment to empowering food processors would undoubtedly lead to a thriving and prosperous future for the entire food processing industry in the country.

Once again, heartfelt thanks were extended to IFAD, the ROOTS Project team, and the Ministry of Agriculture for their unwavering collaboration and support in elevating the lives of farmers and farming organizations in the Gambia.

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