Nov 26, 2008, 5:34 AM
The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) is in the process of introducing a new system to determine the price of cattle in the country.
The system known as 'Weighing scale and band' would be done nation-wide, at designated livestock markets and buying depots. This was revealed by Mr. Demba B Jallow, the designate Director General of the agency.
He made these remarks in an interview with our reporters at The Point over the weekend.
Mr. Jallow noted that the aim of the agency is to promote commercialisation and regulates the marketing of livestock and livestock products in the country.
He pointed out that the function of the agency is to come up with as a matter of urgency, a price determination mechanism, based on the use of weight scales and bands on animals destined for slaughter.
As he put it, "by this a fair buying and selling price for all players in the marketing chain will be established."
Noting that "the livestock owner, the producer will get his or her animals worth, as the dealer and butcher," he said consumers will as a result benefit from a fair meat price.
He said as of now, farmers and consumers are the biggest losers, while the middlemen gain all through.
Mr. Jallow asserted that animals will be physically examined to ensure that only healthy one's are bought and presented for slaughter.
Mr. Jallow revealed that slaughtered slabs, butcher shop, kiosks, and eventually abattoirs will be constructed by the agency at strategic locations within the urban areas and others at regional growths centres, to avoid mass convergence of consumers on the few available butchery shops.
He also pointed out that the central abattoir in Abuko would be refurbished to increase its capacity in handling more animals destined for slaughter.
The livestock agency boss further revealed that butchers would be trained on different areas, especially on flying, chopping, handling of carcasses, cutting and packaging, and on personal hygiene. This, he said, would ensure that meat at all times is wholesome and fit for human consumption.
"The agency has the task of protecting all players in the marketing of livestock, but more so the producer, who happened to have been repeatedly exploited by the middleman, and the consumer who paid for all losses ever made by the middlemen," he lamented.