Nov 5, 2012, 12:47 PM
The availability of rams for the Tobaski this year is an issue of concern to not only to the Gambian authorities, but also those in Senegal and other countries, and measures have been instituted to ensure availability of rams to Muslims, the head of the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) has said.
Speaking in an interview with The Point in his office at Abuko yesterday, Dr Demba B. Jallow, Director General of the GLMA said this is largely due to the political events in Mali, where most Tobaski rams for The Gambia and Senegal originate.
“The poor crop yield last year has also reduced our farmers’ capacity to participate in the marketing of rams, as well as the high Dalasi/CFA exchange rate currently being witnessed by all,” Dr Jallow added.
“It is going to be very difficult, and it is important that people try to secure rams at village levels or even other places to avoid the rush that may happen.
“It is not to cause panic, but at least people need to know that this year will not be as easy as last year in securing rams,” he stated.
He noted that it is incumbent on all to show restraint and foresight in the execution of our noble duties during such critical periods, by encouraging the free movement of animals during this period.
The GLMA boss revealed that, annually, the GLMA organises the Tobaski ram sale in Abuko to serve as a market outlet for local farmers and livestock dealers, and those from within the sub-region.
This move, he went on, has been helpful in the past in increasing the number of rams that get to Abuko from all parts of the sub-region, thereby ensuring the availability of affordable rams for the people.
“Also during this period, the agency temporarily waives all forms of fees levied on sheep and goats, to help attract many dealers and allow the participation of all regardless of place of origin,” he stated.
On the pricing of the rams, Dr Jallow said the agency cannot give a fix price, but will do all it can to ensure that mechanisms are put in place for dealers to sell their rams at reasonable prices.
“We will not institute a price for the animals, but the agency will make sure that farmers and ram dealers don’t sell at higher prices,” he stated.