The vulnerable populations benefiting from the Emergency Food Security Programme in Guinea Bissau (PUSA) are smiling again. This was the conclusion reached during the joint FAO and World Bank mission held from 6 to 10 February in Bissau and Bafata to review the results of the programme.
Implemented by the Government of Guinea Bissau with the operational and technical support of FAO and financed by the World Bank, the PUSA aims to support agricultural production and strengthen the food security of the most vulnerable communities by compensating for food shortages and strengthening farmers’ capacities.
With one year to go, several activities have already been carried out with interesting results and a budget execution level of 61%. In order to ensure that the objectives of the PUSA are achieved, the joint mission reviewed the main activities and sub-activities relating to vaccination, the distribution and use of seeds, the cash transfer system, the distribution of agricultural equipment and the strengthening of the institutional and technical capacities of beneficiaries.
Significant results achieved
1,275.49 tonnes of food seeds, 2,980 kg of vegetable seeds, 20,756 preparatory tools and 500 tonnes of fertiliser were distributed to 57,376 households.
In the village of N’totinha, 63 km north of Bissau, COVID-19 restrictions left 450 households vulnerable. FAO and the Government supported 211 households through unconditional cash transfers (XOF 85,000/household) during 2022.
“The support from FAO has been very useful and has allowed us to feed our families and ensure the schooling of our children and the health of our families,” said Afonso Coumba, Chief of N’totinha Village, father of a family of 14 members and beneficiary of the cash transfer.
“With the money sent by FAO and its partners, I was able to buy rice to feed my family and strengthen my fishing and fish smoking activities to generate other income,” said Muscuta Ndami, widow&head of a family of 7 in N’totinha.
Joe Kouade is one of the cashew processors who benefited from the experience exchange in India organised by the World Bank-funded PUSA. He acquired a cashew kernel shelling machine to improve quality and increase production.
One of the major innovations is the introduction of the intensive rice cultivation system (SRI) among rice farmers. In Batafa, about 200 km north of Bissau, PUSA distributed fertilisers and rice seeds to improve rice production. Beneficiaries are happy with the results on 21 ha of rice perimeter with less urea used and easier weeding.
“We are very happy to use SRI, which has revolutionised the way we produce rice. We use less seed for nurseries, less fertiliser and we are sure to increase our production,” said Ansaro Savané, head of the women rice farmers in Bafanta.
143 women from the village of Bricama in the Bafata region have benefited from onion, tomato, chilli and okra seeds for home consumption and for sale in other localities with the support of partners.
FAO in its role of technical support to the implementation of the PUSA has learned a lot of lessons as Dr Adin Bloukounon, PUSA Lead Technical Officer at the Sub-regional Office for West Africa underlines: “We have learned a lot from the implementation of the PUSA through direct exchanges with national stakeholders and the World Bank who always trust FAO’s expertise to strengthen the capacity of partners at the local level.
The exchanges with the beneficiaries allowed the World Bank to note a notable progress in the implementation of the PUSA in Guinea Bissau: “At the level of the World Bank, we are satisfied with the results achieved on the ground which impact the lives of the beneficiaries who have told us so. The SRI is well adopted because it contributes to increasing production and cashew processors are putting into practice the lessons learned from the visit to India,” said Aifa Niane Ndoye, PUSA Task Team Leader at the World Bank.
The implementation of the PUSA is a great experience of direct collaboration with the Government of Guinea Bissau and the World Bank who trusted FAO to deploy its expertise for the benefit of vulnerable populations in Guinea Bissau.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.