Sep 2, 2009, 7:32 AM
Mr. Matarr Njie, the Principal Agricultural Officer at the Department of Animal Health and Production Services Unit, under the Ministry of Agriculture has said that by the year 2015, sustainable production and productivity of livestock will improve to meet 75 percent of the national demand in meat, meat products and increase milk production by at least 25 percent over present level.
Mr. Njie disclosed this while presenting a paper at the opening of a two-day forum for farmers, geared towards brainstorming with heads of agricultural unit, international and civil society organisations.
The forum that attracted about fifty participants was organised by the National Farmers Platform, with a view to strengthening dialogue between farmers and officials, and to promote information on existing agricultural programmes, plans, available resources and how farmers can access them.
According to Mr. Njie, policy advice and regulation, delivery services and essential inputs are available, affordable and accessible in every region.
Noting that the value chain of the livestock sub-sector are efficient, effective and linked, he said, their strategy is to strengthen animal health care delivery system at all levels, including disease control and prevention, budgetary support to the epidemiological surveilance system and enhanced laboratory diagnosis services, through the provision of necessary equipment and reagents.
He further stated that other strategies include supporting the development of commercial poultry production to meet the increasing demand in poultry products by facilitating access to necessary inputs and reducing domestic production cost.
Mr. Njie also expressed the need to increase local poultry production by 100 percent, through effective disease control, as well as to encourage the diversification of livestock production by promoting short circle species.
Mr. Njie said the policy objectives and strategies of the livestock have been very comprehensive and designed to address the needs and aspirations of the Gambian farmers.
He noted that the services to be provided under these objectives and strategies would be made available to farmers at farm-gate level as advocated by the decentralisation policy and the recent restructuring of the ministry of agriculture.
He thus urged farmers to take this opportunity and get the courage to invest into diverse agricultural productions, particularly in livestock production which is a sector identified as a bank for farmers in developing countries.