GAMBIA / FOOD CRISIS RIO +20

13-Jun-2012 00:03:05
Even as one in seven of the world's people go hungry, about a third of global food production gets lost or wasted - a problem that will be on the agenda at this month's UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. In Gambia, two years of crop failures and soaring food prices have left more than half the country's population without enough food. FAO
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STORY: GAMBIA / FOOD CRISIS RIO+20
TRT: 3.05
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / WOLOF / NATS
DATELINE: MAY 2012, GAMBIA
SHOTLIST
1. Various shots, Kerr Pateh village market
2. Med shot, Mammud Drammeh at the market
3. SOUNDBITE (Wolof) Mammud Drammeh, Kerr Pateh Village Leader:
“People are really struggling now to get food. If you have ten people in your family, you spend your time thinking about where you can get food from. It is our biggest problem; and the question is how can we grow another crop next year. What we will use for seeds is a big problem. And we’ve already sold off all the farming tools that we had.”
4. Wide shot, women in rice fields where crops failed completely due to poor rains
5. Wide shot, women pounding millet
6. Various shots, women going to the storage room where rice is kept away from rodents
7. Various shots, woman spreading out her red onion harvest to dry
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Amie Jallow Jatta, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
“We are also addressing the food losses through the value addition, proper storage, and making sure that there are market outlets so that the products - since they are highly perishable and they don’t have proper storage facilities - you can quickly sell them.”
9. Various shots, FAO storage silos ready for distribution to farmers
10. Various shots, storage silos usage guide
11. Wide shot, onion farmer getting water from a well
12. Various shots, women sorting out dried onions
13. Wide shot, food processing centre
15. Various shots, woman purchasing jam at market
16. SOUNDBITE (Wolof) Ndey Drammeh, project trainee:
“This initiative helps us be more self-sufficient. We can invest more in our farming, get better yields and live in better conditions. As smallholders, we work hard but we also reap the benefits. All we have is agriculture so we are interested in anything that can make us more self-sufficient.”
17. Various shots, woman buying hibiscus jam at the supermarket
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Amie Jallow Jatta, FAO:
“As we heard, Ndey said, the skills she has developed through joining this group she can use it to develop herself into a big entrepreneur, and that’s what she’s working towards.”
19. Various shots, market
20. Wide shot, woman in rice field
STORYLINE
The Republic of the Gambia, a small West African country on the southern-most border of the Sahel region, has suffered severe crop failures this year. Last year saw a drop of more than seventy percent in total crop production due to poor rains.

Two bad years and soaring food prices have left more than half the country’s population without enough food.

SOUNDBITE (Wolof) Mammud Drammeh, Kerr Pateh Village Leader:
“People are really struggling now to get food. If you have ten people in your family, you spend your time thinking about where you can get food from. It is our biggest problem, and the question is how can we grow another crop next year. What we will use for seeds is a big problem. And we’ve already sold off all the farming tools that we had.”

When food and resources are this scarce, nothing can be wasted and every effort to add to the value of what little you have makes a real difference.

In a world where in one in seven people go hungry, roughly one third of global food production gets lost or wasted. And along with the food that nobody eats, we also lose the water, soil and other resources that were used to grow it.

Food waste is largely a problem in industrialized countries, while food losses are more typical of the developing world - often due to inadequate infrastructure.

Here in The Gambia, the Food and Agriculture Organization is working with farmers to tackle the problem.

SOUNDBITE (English) Amie Jallow Jatta, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
“We are also addressing the food losses through the value addition, proper storage, and making sure that there are market outlets so that the products - since they are highly perishable and they don’t have proper storage facilities - you can quickly sell them.”
Bad storage facilities can result in infestation by insects and rats, but around 12,000 people will soon be able to store their produce properly in these metal silos – specially designed for use by families or the whole community.

These farmers have learnt how to cure their onions by leaving them out to dry before bagging them. This will ensure that they don’t rot and can be stored for up to six months.

And the FAO project is also working with farmers’ associations to establish a modern, competitive and commercially vibrant food-processing sector.

Hibiscus flowers, which were often thrown away when preparing the leaves for cooking, are now processed to become jam and juice, and have become an important source of income.

SOUNDBITE (Wolof) Ndey Drammeh:
“This initiative helps us be more self-sufficient. We can invest more in our farming, get better yields and live in better conditions. As smallholders, we work hard but we also reap the benefits. All we have is agriculture so we are interested in anything that can make us more self-sufficient.”

Thanks to effective marketing techniques, the products are being sold throughout the country. This additional source of income makes a real difference for small scale farmers whose livelihoods are threatened by poor harvests.

And the impact of the project will be felt for years to come – because with their new skills, many women like Ndey are looking forward to starting their own companies.

SOUNDBITE (English) Amie Jallow Jatta, FAO:
“As we heard, Ndey said, the skills she has developed through joining this group she can use it to develop herself into a big entrepreneur, and that’s what she’s working towards.”

FAO and partners are working together on the Save Food Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. And food loss and waste will be on the agenda at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

FAO says that if hunger is to be eradicated, everybody involved in food supply chains – from producers to consumers – must change management practices, technologies and behaviour.
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