By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie, has recently unveiled to the lawmakers that the Department of Water Resources is implementing the Climate Smart Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Development Project through funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Finance Minister Njie stated that under this project they will construct 144 solar-powered piped-water supply systems that will provide safe drinking water to over 400,000 rural settlers.
“Through support from the Japanese Government, additional solar-powered piped-water supply systems are to be constructed in 2022 to benefit 80,000 people in our rural communities”, he unveiled.
“Like all other sectors, the Fisheries sector has also been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of land-based fish processing and export companies have closed due to low fishing and processing activities, high cost of preservation and low exports of fish products”, he lamented.
He averred that in addition to the pandemic, the sector continues to face challenges that are hindering its development, and these include limited technologies on the production of good quality fingerlings for coastal and offshore aquaculture production, illegal and unregulated fishing and the lack of Gambian owned industrial fishing vessels.
He said that in early 2021, the Fisheries Monitoring Centre of the Department was equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) through funding from the EU-Gambia Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Program.
“The VMS will help with the monitoring of fishing activities, particularly of industrial fishing vessels operating in Gambian waters, and thus curb illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing”, he told the assembly.
The Fisheries sector, Minister Njie said is part of The Gambia Pilot Project implemented by GAMWORKS through funding from the ECOWAS Stabilization Fund. He said that the Project has constructed a fish smoking oven for women at the Burfut Community Fisheries Centre, with similar structures to be constructed in other fish landing sites.
He added that the Project is also supporting aquaculture development with youth organizations in URR through the provision of mini grants.
On the Ministry of Agriculture, he explained to the assembly that, the Ministry has developed a National Agricultural Extension Policy to promote sustainable agricultural production, value chain development, strengthen the human and institutional capacities of extension service providers, and the governance of extension systems.
“The Ministry is working with farmers to develop their capacities in new farming techniques and approaches to reduce drudgery and boost production and productivity. The Department has also been sensitizing farmers on climate change mitigation and coping strategies through the adoption of climate smart agriculture”, he remarked.
He explained further that in the agriculture sector, The Gambia’s bilateral relations with several Asian countries continue to thrive. He cited that Japan has donated D125 million worth of rice including 50 tractors and farming accessories, an additional 600 metric tons of fertilizer and 50 metric tons of groundnuts were also provided to the farming community through the support of the Japanese Government.
He stressed that the two countries will deepen cooperation in areas such as agriculture, health and technology. The Government of the People’s Republic of China through their Embassy has supported the Ministry of Agriculture in highly significant measures.
“Within the framework of our bilateral cooperation, the Chinese Government has supported The Gambia with power tillers, mini threshers, irrigation pumps, rice mills and ten metric tons of urea fertilizer”, he said.