The Ministry of Agriculture’s Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP) recently handed over monitoring equipment worth D15,140,000 to the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) and the Department of Livestock Service (DLS) during a ceremony held at the Abuko Livestock Complex.
Surveillance equipment includes three vans, 30 motorcycles, 15 laptops, 6 desktops and 100 tablet phones. The vehicles and motorcycles aim to end the daily mobility constraints faced by these implementing partners.
It also aims to help extension agents embark on effective routine market data collection, the collection of livestock taxes, slaughter fees as well as the management of livestock markets and facilities to ensure maintaining national food quality and safety standards.
Representing the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Abdoulie B. Touray, Project Coordinator at the Central Project Coordination Unit (CPCU), expressed optimism that the support would now enable GLMA and DLS to effectively carry out their disease surveillance activities with the aim of helping the country achieve its goal of reducing the incidence rate of the peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus.
“While the project strives to reduce small ruminant diseases, especially PPR, it has also opened an Islamic microfinance window to facilitate access to finance for actors in the small ruminant value chain.” he said.
He thanked the Gambian government and the IDB for funding the project, while assuring the Ministry of Agriculture’s continued support for the project.
Mamud Njie, Project Manager at SRPEP, recalled that to improve small ruminant husbandry in the country, there should be a reduction in the prevalence and mortality caused by PPR, noting that this disease has a high morbidity and mortality among small ruminants in the country.
The equipment, he added, was purchased to enhance the capacity of GLMA and DLS to monitor and control the disease. This, he added, aims to reduce PPR mortality in sheep and goats by less than 10%.
He also thanked the IDB and the SRPEP Task Manager for their support and guidance in the implementation of the project.
For his part, Dr. Abdou Ceesay, Director General of DLS, said his institution has long struggled with low mobility of its extension staff, adding that this status and the high ratio of livestock keepers to extension workers have in many many cases affected farmers’ access. animal husbandry and veterinary services.
He therefore noted that the arrival of this equipment would greatly contribute to improving the work of extension agents to ensure sustainable development for both the project and the farmers.
“The effective implementation of disease control activities such as vaccination campaigns in our animal production system requires that the potency of vaccines be well preserved until the time they are deliverable to animals.”
This, he added, cannot be done in the absence of appropriate mobility managements where the cold chain can be effectively maintained.
Momodou Darboe, Managing Director of GLMA, explained that providing this monitoring equipment to the agency would facilitate their routine field visits to 25 major markets and slaughterhouses across the country by field staff and management.
“It will also ensure that our facilities are properly used and maintained to meet acceptable zoo-sanitary and national food safety standards at all times.”
DG Darboe commended the SRPEP for its continued support to the GLMA, while ensuring judicious use of resources.
About the project
The SRPEP is a four-year, $26.81 million project designed to contribute to improving the livelihoods of pastoral communities in The Gambia by enhancing the productivity and resilience of rural communities and stimulating entrepreneurship in the livestock sector.
The project is funded by the Gambian government and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB); it covers the whole country. The objective is to improve the development of small ruminants through a mechanism to support the health of the herd; increasing productivity through improved genetics and improving the feeding system; production and marketing management; innovation in product processing techniques and access to Islamic finance.