Gambian women embrace good farming practices to boost incomes
It is sunset in the farming community of Sara Kunda - a village in the North Bank of The Gambia. Fatoumatta Gassama welcomes us to a garden in her backyard where she is planting tomatoes. Here, she is putting into practice what she learned during the production calendar training she received thanks to the Jokkalente Market Platform Project.
For many years, farmers in The Gambia cultivated crops without considering what the market required. Because their production wasn't market driven, they sometimes sold their produce at a loss, deepening their poverty.
Now this is changing thanks to the intervention of the International Trade Centre’s Jokkalente Market Platform Project. Funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the project seeks to help women horticulture producers build back better from the impact of COVID-19 through digitization and market access.
Women farmers are learning good agricultural practices to boost production and earn more money. This includes training on the production calendar.
The production calendar aims to guide planting and to provide accurate information to women farmers on the right period to sow their crops to maximise income. The training is empowering them with all the skills needed to plan, prepare and plant crops at the best time to earn more income at the time of sale. The women farmers are now embracing this practice to have good market for their products.
‘You can see it. I have tomatoes at this time of year. I am practicing what I have learned,’ Fatoumatta told us while pointing at a bed of tomatoes in her garden. It is unusual for farmers to have tomatoes at this time of the year. But she is changing the narrative as she is following the production calendar provided to her by the project. ‘In the community garden, too, I have beds of tomatoes almost set to be harvested,’ she said.
Planting by calendar
Fatoumatta grows vegetables to support her family, and she's the treasurer of the regional marketing federation. Fatoumatta and numerous women farmers were trained by the Jokkalente Market Platform Project.
The new practices give women a way to earn more money.
’Tomatoes are currently scarce in the market. Only few are producing it. I am hopeful that after my harvest, I will be able to sell at a high price,’ she said.
The project also provided a copy of the calendar to serve as a guide and reminder for the farmers. As one of the leaders of the regional marketing federation, Fatoumatta also hopes to train more women farmers on the calendar so they can sell their products at a good price and improve their standard of living.
'I will share the knowledge with more women farmers in our region,’ she said.