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Over D1.5M butchery shop handed over to Kotu communities

May 21, 2013, 10:04 AM

The Livestock Horticultural and Development Project (LHDP) last week handed over a newly constructed butchery complex worth over D1.5 million to the mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council for onward transmission to “Group Legaye of Kotu’.


The project is jointly funded by the African Development Bank, IFAD and the Government of the Gambia.


The handing over ceremony, graced by senior government officials, civil society organisations and a cross section of the community, was held at the new complex located opposite Manjai Lodge in Kotu.


Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Solomon Owens, Minister of Agriculture, described the move as a significant achievement by the LHDP and a clear testimony of government’s commitment to the development of the country’s agriculture sector.


The facility, he said, is meant to complement the efforts of the ‘Group Legaye of Kotu’ with the overall objective of boosting horticulture and livestock production, noting that it is also in line with the Vision 2020, PAGE, GNAIP and the MDGs.


According to Owens, the facility will also help to enhance the production, processing and marketing of horticultural and livestock products and by extension promote food security and poverty alleviation.


Describing the project as relevant and timely to the development needs of the country, the Agriculture Minister noted that it will provide employment opportunities and promote food hygiene.


While stressing the need to ensure the sustainability of the complex, Owens said the beneficiaries have acquired the requisite knowledge and skills for the maintenance of the structure and its equipment.


‘The provision of these facilities will also make the women beneficiaries key players in the meat industry, which has long been dominated by the male folk,’ he said, adding that when operational, the stalls will no doubt help improve the earning capacity of the targeted beneficiaries.


Agric Minister Owens commended the African Development Bank and IFAD for supporting the agriculture sector in improving production and developing value chain both in the crops and livestock sectors.


Yankuba Colley, mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council for his part, said the facility is just the first major project in his new term in office, saying there will be more new projects within the Kanifing Municipality under the dynamic leadership of President Yahya Jammeh.


According to him, LHDP’s support to his Municipality is not new, citing the peri-urban project as another example.


“The provision of this butchery complex with six meat stalls equipped with the state of the earth equipment such as deep freezers and other equipment will indeed be very helpful. This, I am sure will be regarded as one of the significant milestones in our collective drive towards increased availability of reasonable and first class meat,” he stated.


Ousman Jammeh, regional director for West Coast Region, said the regional directorate of agriculture in the West Coast Region is the main implementing agency for the LHDP in the region.


“The LHDP is one of the few agricultural projects that ensured that financial resources are available to the regions with which the capacity of both farmers and extension staff are being built,’ he said, adding that this is evident in the strides made in the area of ICT especially inthe agricultural regions of Central, North Bank and  West Coast Regions.


According to him, LHDP has not only provided training but also ICT facilities such as laptops, computers, data cards, colour printers, projectors, giant photocopiers, binding machines, scanners and cameras among others.


For her part, the president of the Kotu Group Legaye, Fatou Jeng gave a brief history of her organization, noting that it was established in 2010 by women with the objectives of providing affordable livestock products for people of Serekunda and the surrounding communities.


The group, she added, is engaged in selling beef, mutton, goat meat and poultry at affordable prices with the support of government.


Jeng commended the LHDP for providing them with such facility through funding from the African Development Bank.


Lamin Sanyang, coordinator of the LHDP, said the project is geared towards the eradication of poverty and hunger and improving livelihood of farmers.


He challenged the Kotu Group Legaye to properly manage the magnificent facility.


Mr Lamin Saine, who spoke on behalf of Dr Kebba Daffeh, Director of Veterinary Services, noted that the availability of cheap and good quality meat is a key priority of the Ministry of Agriculture as manifested in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy 2009-2015.


He called on the beneficiary group to ensure that the facility serves the needs of the association, other producers and the consumers within the larger community.


Dr Daffeh used the opportunity to pay particular tribute to the Government of the Gambia, LHDP, and funding agencies, ADB, KMC, Agricultural Directorate and Kotu Group Legaye for working tirelessly to make the completion of this complex a reality.