By SaikouSuwarehJabai

The Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the Mrs. Kalala, FAO Rep, and Mr. NyaballyUnited Nations, on Monday, 21st December, 2015, signed the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) Project at the ministry in Banjul.

This D16,000,000 (Sixteen Million Dalasi) FAO funded project to develop the artisanal fisheries sector in The Gambia is to be implemented in a period of two years by the ministry with technical support from the FAO. The TCP is one of the organisation’s tools for contributing to the achievement of the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and particularly the goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the FAO country Representative, Mrs. Perpetua Katepa Kalala, said fishing is one of the major sources of food and that it offers great opportunity for employment and economic benefits for the country. Therefore, he added, fisheries resources need to be managed properly for offering their sustainable contribution to the nutritional, economic and social well-being of the growing population.

The FAO Representative said the D16M project is aimed at developing the subsector through capacity building for fisher folks in improved fishing techniques, fish handling and processing skills, quality control and fish waste management. She said the TCP was created to enable FAO to make its know-how and technical expertise available to member countries upon request, drawing from its own resources. She added that the FAO has provided technical assistance and advice in the formation and implementation of policies, strategies, programmes and projects in fisheries and agriculture sectors aimed at improving food security and nutrition and thereby reducing poverty in a broad-based, equitable and sustainable manner.

Mrs. Kalala noted that the project will help to promote sustainable management and equitable utilisation of fisheries resources with a view to contribute significantly to economic growth and employment, to enhance food and nutrition security to reduce poverty.

Mr. Lamin Nyabally, the Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, noted the long standing cordial relationship between the FAO and the Gambia government, adding that the body has helped the country in its developmental drive, especially in the fisheries and agriculture sector.

The fisheries minister said this is a strong indication that the organisation is willing to work with The Gambia. He assured the FAO officials that the funds will be fully utilised as mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that the project objectives are achieved notwithstanding the challenges in the sector.