As dawn breaks, Veronique, a banana farmer in the Senegalese village of Saal on the banks of the Gambia River in the Tambacounda region is already walking to the plantation for work. Her only break is at noon, when she returns home to cook lunch for her family, then returns to work on the plantation until it’s time again to prepare dinner, clean the house, and spend time with her husband. With agriculture being one of the primary sectors in the Senegalese economy, contributing to about 15 percent of GDP, Veronique is not alone in relying on rural farming for her livelihoods. But simple investments, such as new irrigation system would lessen her back-breaking load on the plantation, giving her more time to take care of her family and start a vegetable garden to provide nutritious food for them.
It is in areas like Tambacounda, which struggles with very high levels of poverty and hunger, smallholder family farmers – mostly women – that we can see the true impact of the support of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP). With the programme’s support, smallholder family farmers like Veronique will have access to funds, capacity building, technology, and public-private partnerships in order to sustainably grow agricultural productivity and establish linkages to markets.
Launched in 2010 as a demand-led, multi-stakeholder global partnership, GAFSP channels additional funding for development of the agriculture and food systems in poor countries. It supports strategic, technically sound projects along the entire value chain. Working in partnership with the Rome-based UN and international agencies, World Bank, and regional multi-lateral development banks, GAFSP offers a range of public and private investment tools including grants, concessional loans, blended finance, technical assistance and advisory services. GAFSP currently has an open a Special Call for Proposals targeting fragile and conflict affected countries designed to address the underfunding of such countries have the highest need of support.
“We know that agriculture is uniquely positioned to reduce both poverty and hunger – growth in agriculture has been shown to be several times more effective at reducing extreme poverty than growth in any other sector,” explains Natasha Hayward, lead of the GAFSP Coordination Unit, “Through longer term investments in agriculture, food and nutrition security that build on the existing multilateral delivery system and respond to country priorities, GAFSP is contributing directly to combating hunger and poverty. GAFSP financing supports resilient and sustainable agriculture that benefits and empower poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers.”
GAFSP stands as a proven, effective mechanism, already working to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that pools development resources and selectively allocates them to where they are most needed, effective, and catalytic. GAFSP’s Steering Committee has recently endorsed an overall vision for the programme to 2030, recognising how GAFSP has been working to channel resources to help achieve the Sustainable Development Global goals, in particular SDG2.
Since its inception, the Programme has invested over $1.6 billion reaching 10 million people and is on track to reach 12 million by 2022, of whom 40% will be women and girls.
To learn more at GAFSP, visit https://www.gafspfund.org.