By: Kebba AF Touray
The Executive of the National Livestock Owners Association (NaLOA), has added their voice to that of Livestock dealers’, who appealed for Government to consider re-opening Lumos (weekly markets) throughout the country.
Livestock dealers and Members of NaLOA made this call recently in a press briefing held at NaLOA Headquarters in Brikama, West Coast Region.
Speaking at the press briefing, the Secretary General of NaLOA, Modou Sowe, said it has been over five months since Government ordered the closure of weekly markets or Lumos, as part of their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The closure he decried, has drastically affected livestock farmers in selling their animals to generate for their daily needs.
He said: “As farmers, we promise to maintain the tariff at the market in terms of meat and milk among other products, to help consumers get access to these and other products.”
Sowe said the closure of Lumos has undermined the operations of the main market in Abuko, which contradicts the objective of Government’s investment in the construction of the Abuko infrastructure.
‘‘The closure of Lumos has hindered the affordability of Gambians to meat and other livestock products. In this respect, we solemnly appeal to Government to consider the plight of livestock farmers in re-opening of Lumos, so that they will be able to sell their livestock and dealers will be able to go to Lumos and get livestock to sell as well.”
He continued: “We also want the Government to understand that support has been rendered to other sectors, but we the livestock farmers need more support. All sectors have expressed their constraints and consideration has been observed except for the livestock sector.”
He noted that their sector equally needs support from Government to enable farmers to revive their businesses which have been hit hard by the global pandemic.
He called for support to the Agriculture Value Chain, in order to better help producers, dealers and consumers who are the most vulnerable in society.
Lamin Darboe, Secretary General of Gambia Livestock dealers association GALDA, reiterated that Government has reduced restrictions on local markets to open, whilst the livestock fraternity continues to wait for Government to consider re-opening the livestock markets.
“There are 29 markets nationwide, but only three are operational which are situated within the greater Banjul Area. We have other big livestock markets in this country that need to be re-opened,” Darboe said.