It is sunset in the farming community of Sara Kunda - a village in the North Bank of The Gambia. Fatoumata welcomes us to a garden in her backyard where she is planting tomatoes. In this garden, 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 putting into consideration what the market required. The production of crops is not market driven. As a result, this causes many of them to sell their produce at a loss because of the lack of a good market, thereby pushing them into 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 forward better from the impact of Covid-19 through digitization and market access.

Women farmers are being equipped with the knowledge on good agricultural practices to boost production and income generation. And this includes training on the production calendar. The production calendar aims to guide and 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 that will yield 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 Gassama 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 Fatoumatta Gassama 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 shared.

IMG_9811.JPG Fatoumatta Gassama

Fatoumatta Gassama is a horticulture producer. She is also the treasurer of the regional marketing federation. Fatoumatta and numerous women farmers were trained by the Jokkalente Market Platform Project on the production calendar. She uses her income to help support her family.

The practice is improving the income generation prospects of women farmers. Fatoumatta continues: “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.”

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 Gassama also hopes to train more women farmers on the calendar so they can sell their products at a good price to improve their standard of living. “I will share the knowledge with more women farmers in our region,” she concluded.

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