Sep 1, 2015, 10:44 AM
Livestock owners association recently held a one-day sensitization forum for forty-five of its members in Brikama, West Coast Region.
The forum, held at AFET conference hall in Brikama and sponsored by NACOFAG, drew participants from across the country to discuss the significance of the value chain of the livestock sub-sector.
Speaking at the meeting, the coordinator of NACOFAG, Alieu Sowe, said NACOFAG, in partnership with its sub-regional body, ROPPA, has secured some funding to support farmers to discuss issues of value chain.
He explained that initially it was realised that most of the membership are drawn from West Coast Region, Kanifing Municipality, Lower River Region and North Bank Region but this time around NACOFAG has endeavoured to make sure that cattle owners from Central River Region south and Upper River Region are brought together to amicably set up an interim committee that will spearhead the affairs of the livestock owners association for six months.
NACOFAG will continue to lobby for more funds to support them in organising a national congress that will bring all cattle owners, as a body, including poultry farmers’ organisation and the pig breeders association, he said.
These three sectors, he said, will be combined to an apex body that will work closely and collaborate with NACOFAG, and the Government of The Gambia through the ministries of Agriculture, Trade and Forestry.
Their collaboration will base on food security, food sovereignty, and on the basis of employment creation as well as to discourage and alleviate poverty among the association’s membership.
According to Mr Sowe, NACOFAG has a big role to play by coordinating this sector. “We at NACOFAG are mandated to provide technical support to the livestock owners association and this is in accordance with the protocol of the membership of the network of NACOFAG.”
During the meeting, important issues were raised in relation to concentrating more on value addition, capacity support, on the governance of the organisation and institutionalisation of the organization.
The participants also discussed at length the importance of this sector on the scope of food sovereignty and food security.
He said: “This is geared towards complementing each others’ efforts in the fight against poverty.”
He also stated that the issue of cattle theft was discussed at length to come up with possible solutions to minimising the menace of food poverty in The Gambia.
In his official opening remarks, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sherifo Bojang, thanked NACOFAG for ensuring that farmers are well sensitised in all forms.
He also advised participants to be more organised as suggested by Sowe by coming together under a single umbrella body and work as a team for their best interest.
He used the opportunity to call on all stakeholders, farmers to in a concerted effort join the call made by NACOFAG.
He added that the expectation is that participants will be sensitised on value-addition and on the importance of value-chain on livestock.