Cattle in West Africa

Cattle in West Africa (photo credit: ILRI).

An article in The Daily Observer (Banjul) (22 May 2012) highlights the recent hand-over of livestock projects to villages in the Lower River Region and Central River Region of the Gambia. Below is the article by Sheriff Barry.

The Regional Project on Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa (PROGEBE-Gambia) recently handed over livestock projects to Jataba Village, Kiang West, in the Lower River Region; Jareng Village, in Niani East and Nyanga Bantang in Nianija Districts of the Central River Region (CRR) at a ceremony held at their respective project sites.

The livestock projects which were handed over to their respective beneficiaries include 11 livestock markets and processing facilities, slaughter slabs, wells and drinking troves, loading ramps and rehabilitation slaughter houses. The project aims at preserving and enhancing the productivity of endemic ruminant livestock in the country.

Speaking at the event, Sanna Dahaba, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that the peaceful and conducive environment enable them to achieve such development projects in the country, pointing out that there are several developed countries who today are unfortunate to have such a peaceful environment.

He commended the president, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yaya AJJ Jammeh for his tireless efforts in ensuring that peace and tranquillity prevail in this country and also for supporting the development of agriculture in the country.

Dahaba urged the livestock dealers and butchers to have authentic and valid documents with them at all times during their business activities, particularly during ‘Lumos’ (weekly markets) for identification purposes.

He also informed them that it came to their notice that there are some business elements who have the habit of playing dubious activities by using one single original Livestock Movement Permit and its duplicate to two different dealers, which he decried as unacceptable.

He therefore warned them to desist from such malpractice and that anybody found guilty will face the full force of the law. “The sustainability and maintenance of the facilities lie in the hands of you the beneficiaries and make best use of the facilities,” Dahaba said.

For his part, Dr. Abdelkader Bensada, PROGEBE regional project coordinator, spoke on the objectives of the project, which he said, is to provide food security through better management, capacity building and putting a better operation services for agro farmers and to conserve and preserve the habitats of livestock in The Gambia.

He hailed PROGEBE-Gambia for their astonishing achievement; citing the fact that they were recently awarded the best among their partner countries for their dedication and hard work.

According o him, the donors will not only provide the infrastructure but will evaluate and see whether the facilities have been better managed, insisting that the project is for the community and they should ensure its sustainability.

Speaking earlier, Dr. Famara Bully Sanyang, PROGEBE-Gambia national project coordinator dilated on the significance of the facilities and some of the roles of PROGEBE-Gambia. He outlined that PROGEBE is being implemented in four West African countries.

He also went on to emphasise that the facilities are purposely meant for preserving livestock; that livestock can supplement and generate income for the farmers, especially in a situation of crop failure.

Dr Sanyang disclosed that they have been embarking on capacity building and skill training of farmers in different areas, including livestock production matters, livestock techniques that can improve livestock performance.

According to him, they have been doing this for the pass two years in partnership with other agencies. “We have realised that there is some improvement in the productivity of the animals. The next stage is for the farmers to reap some benefit out of that productivity gains,” he said.

According to him, this was the reason why PROGEBE-Gambia constructed livestock markets for the farmers, where they can sell their animal and get income. Dr Sanyang thanked the donors for their tireless contribution and all those who contributed in one way or the other to make sure their objectives are realised.

Other speakers included, Abdou Njie, the deputy governor of LRR, deputising for Omar Gibba, the chief of Kiang West; Kebba Touray, the chief of Niamina East; Perr Bah, the chief of Niani District; Marafang Bayo, the consultant; Ebrima Cham, the technical director for The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA), deputising for his boss.

All of them commended PROGEBE-Gambia for their immense contribution to the promotion of livestock and urged the beneficiaries to make best use of the facilities.

A delegation, including the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, PROGEBE project regional director, PROGEBE-Gambia project director, some PROGEBE-Gambia staff, the project consultant and representatives from different organisations, representatives of the regions, governors, Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA), chiefs, Alkalolu and a cross section of the respective communities attended the ceremony.