WFP Ambassador Howard Buffett recently visited The Gambia, where he met with high-level officials and saw WFP school meals in action. During his visit, Buffett made a financial commitment to support a local procurement feasibility study. The aim of the study is to highlight the role of local markets in school feeding programmes, thereby contributing to the establishment of a national school feeding programme owned and managed by The Gambian Government.
BANJUL - While on his visit to The Gambia, Howard Buffett underscored the importance of local procurement of food for a sustainable national school feeding programme. He visited two WFP-supported schools in the Western region, learning about school meals and interacting with students.
In her welcoming remarks, Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy noted WFP’s shift from providing food aid to providing food assistance, encouraging food self-sufficiency through local procurement when possible. WFP Gambia Country Director Vitoria Ginja also articulated the importance of knowledge transfers to enhance the role of government and non-governmental organizations in striving to achieve food self-sufficiency.
Buffett’s visit came six months after The Gambian Government took steps towards establishing a home-grown and nationally-owned school meals programme. To have a better understanding of the challenges to food security in The Gambia, Buffett met with stakeholders including the Vice President, Permanent Secretaries, and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
With the aim of establishing a national school meals programme, Buffett made a contribution to support a feasibility study on local procurement and opportunities for increasing farmers’ access to markets.
“Overall there’s still a lot of work to be done for The Gambia to grow what it eats and eat what it grows but we’re on the right path,” said Buffett.
While on his visit to the Western region, Buffett joined community members for a drumming musical performance and visited school gardens, observing, “Your garden is doing way better than mine!”