May 21, 2009, 8:10 AM
The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) last Friday handed over the Brikama Regional Abattoir to the Butchers Association in West Coast region.
The handing-over of the abattoir was witnessed by various livestock dealers, including butchers, officials from the GLMA and a cross-section of the community.
Speaking at the occasion, Alhagie Sonko, the public health officer in charge of the abattoir, expressed delight at the gesture. The intervention by the GLMA was timely, he said, adding that before the inception of the GLMA the abattoir was under the management of the Brikama Area Council, “then it was in a very deplorable condition”.
He thanked the GLMA for the massive rehabilitation it had facilitated at the site, stressing that “most of the requirement and infrastructure needed at the abattoir are now installed ranging from office, water, security room, fencing and others facilities”.
Mr Sonko added that the importance attached to the abattoir is immeasurable since in the past slaughtering was done rampantly, animals were coming from all ends without screening, theft cases were also rampant and some times butchers would be impounded by police for investigation of some suspected animals. “But with the intervention of the GLMA, most of these unfortunate happenings and crimes have drastically reduced,” he said.
Lamin Jabarr, president of the Butchers association, expressed similar sentiments and thanked the GLMA for the intervention.
The regional abattoir would go a long way in reducing most of the crimes in the area and bring about available and affordable meat at the doorstep of people living in the area, he said.
He then advised the butchers and their associate dealers to work hand in glove for the best interest of the country.
He also urged them to handle the abattoir with care, saying it now belongs to them and not the GLMA.
For his part, the director general of the GLMA, Dr Demba Jallow, thanked God for giving them the opportunity to rehabilitate “this very important abattoir in Brikama”.
“It is the responsibility of the agency to ensure that the regional abattoirs across the country are rehabilitated to a quality standard,” Dr Jallow said, adding that the onus also rests on the Butchers association to care for the abattoir to ensure sustainability.
He advised members of the association to set up a committee that could run the day-to-day affairs of the abattoir and ensure it is always clean.
He also urged them to ensure that food safety standards and hygiene are always met at the abattoir, which is essential for human consumption.
Dr Jallow used the occasion to thank President Yahya Jammeh for his intervention in ensuring that meat is available and affordable for Gambians during the month of Ramadan.
Other speakers on the occasion included Gibril Jarju, field marketing officer, West Coast Region; Lamin Fatty, adviser to the association, and Alasan Faal, vice president of the association.