minister of agriculture, Omar Jallow, has told the National Assembly members
that The Gambia government has plans to construct 66 boreholes across the
country as part of efforts to boost livestock production.
Speaking at the National Assembly on Thursday during the second ordinary secession in the 2017 legislative year, the minister said 23 solar-powered boreholes would be provided by the ministry, and three harvesting machines in the Upper River Region.
He said after consultation with the farming community and livestock owners association, the ministry understood that the generator-powered boreholes have problem of regular repair and maintenance because it is expensive.
“Therefore, we thought the best alternative is to use solar instead of generator to power the boreholes but it is prudent that the communities protect it; they should be properly protected and look after by the communities themselves,” he said.
The agriculture minister said though the government would still continue to assist crop farmers, “but we want to diversify into livestock, horticulture and other areas like poultry”.
Mr Jallow said the main focus now is to build the livestock subsector to make it a very viable and vibrant economic activity in the country.
“We have seen that when Tobaski or other feasts are coming, we spend a lot of money bringing animals from countries like Senegal and Mauritania. So we now want to build this sector and building it includes providing water to the animals and that is why these 66 boreholes we are going to be constructed and they are going to be for livestock. IDB has already approved D50 million for livestock development in The Gambia,” he said.
The minister explained that livestock does not only mean animals but poultry and beekeeping, adding that the government is diversifying to livestock production as part of efforts to make agriculture attractive to young people.
“The idea is to make young people go back to the land and going back to the land does not only mean tilling the farms, but also livestock rearing, horticulture as well as poultry production and that is why we are to construct the boreholes,” he said.
“We would continue to give more support to the livestock subsector; we are not going to relent after providing 66 solar-power boreholes. We will continue to be in consultation with the livestock owners association, as a nationwide association, with a view to give more support where necessary.”