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FAO reaffirms deepening cooperation with Agric Ministry

Mar 21, 2016, 10:57 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has reaffirmed its commitment to deepening its collaboration and cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture.

This was said by Alhagie Nyangado, coordinator of FASDEP Technical Assistant Component under the FAO, at the launching of the TCP - Assistance to Enhance Commercial Poultry Production for Food Security, held at the Paradise Suites Hotel on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of the FAO country representative, Mr Nyangado expressed FAO’s satisfaction with the Gambia government for its firm commitment to the priority it gives to agricultural development and food security.

According to him, the FAO was aware that one of the major constraints to competitive poultry production in The Gambia is the low availability of quality and affordable feed.

“FAO will be happy to partner with the Ministry of Agriculture and the private sector to find solutions to these important challenges,” he added.

FAO is dedicated to assisting the Department of Livestock Services in the successful implementation of the TCP, and would engage its pool of technical experts in both livestock production and animal health at all levels, he said.

“We have staff at our disposal with adequate professional experience to deliver proposed results, to provide technical support, as well as develop technical capacity of partner departments as needed.”

The aim of the TCP is to address the technical problems around poultry production in the context of promoting commercialisation of poultry production at the local level, he noted.

It would facilitate the establishment of 24 commercial poultry production schemes, by providing poultry production inputs and technical support for broiler and layer production for farmers to develop their capacities and facilitate exchange of experiences with successful poultry production.

In The Gambia, he added, livestock contributes significantly to the national economy and livelihood of the population with potential to making significant contribution to improvement of food security.

The livestock sector contributes about 30 per cent to the agricultural GDP and about 10 per cent to national GDP.

Over the years, he continued, the majority of small-scale rural poultry farmers in The Gambia have been faced with a myriad of constraints to poultry production, including lack of initial capital to procure inputs, low levels of knowledge and skills and inadequate husbandry and veterinary services.

He said annually the country spends huge sums of foreign currencies on importation of poultry and poultry products.

He added that in 2014, the importation of poultry meat was 9,504MT at an estimated cost of USD2,198,717 and in the same year 3,722 MT of eggs valued at USD840,616 was imported.

Local production of poultry meat and eggs were estimated at 1.12OMT and 850MT respectively.

There was significant potential to reduce the loss of foreign currency and poultry importation through commercialisation of the poultry industry, he said, adding that the TCP is fully aligned to The Gambia’s development priorities.