By Nelson Manneh
Omar Gibba, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries, said the fisheries sector contributes about 12.1% to the Gambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that estimates show that about 200,000 people are directly or indirectly dependent on the sector.
PS Gibba made these statements on Tuesday August 9th 2022, during the training of stakeholders on gender mainstreaming in the fisheries sector. The objective of the engagement is to improve the knowledge base for sustainable fisheries management and support, based on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF). It is also meant to build the necessary human and organizational capacities for partner countries for sustainable management and exploitation of fisheries resources, while promoting gender equality and the effective participation of women in the sector.
PS Gibba said the fisheries sector plays a significant role in local livelihoods and the national economy.
“A greater percentage of actors along the fisheries value chain especially in the post-harvest sector, are women. Nevertheless, they are not adequately represented in management and decision-making processes like their male counterparts,” he said; that with the support of FAO through EAF-Nansen Program, his Ministry is ready to do its utmost to ensure that the contribution of women and youth in the fisheries sector, are adequately recognized.
Ms. Moshibudi Rampedi, FAO’s country representative for the Gambia, said the contribution of marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture to the global fight to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition, in all its forms and dimensions, will have to increase if they are to achieve the goals set in Agenda 2030.
“FAO recognizes that ensuring the equal participation of both men and women is essential for achieving these goals, and therefore gender mainstreaming is considered cross-cutting in all areas of the organization,” she said.
In The Gambia, she said FAO has a number of active projects and programs that are support the development of the various sub-sectors under fisheries.
“The FAO, EAF-Nansen Program represents collaboration with thirty two coastal countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean, and the long-term objective of the program is “sustainable fisheries for improved food and nutrition security of the populations of partner countries”. The approach adopted by the program includes taking into account climate change and pollution, as well as promoting gender equality and the effective participation of women in fisheries management and science,” she noted.
Madam Rampedi said the contribution of women and youth to the fisheries sector is often poorly documented. This she said, results in a relatively low capacity of fisheries officers and decision makers to mainstream gender in the development and implementation of national fisheries policies and plans.
“The thematic policy statement in Gambia’s national Gender and Women Empowerment Policy calls on Government to take measures to establish Gender Units in all ministries and departments and allocate resources for effective gender mainstreaming,” she said. She said members of the Gender Desk will be trained using practical exercises that will be linked directly to their responsibilities at the ministry.
Anna Mbenga Cham, the Director of Fisheries at the Ministry, said the contribution of women and youth to the fisheries sector is often poorly documented.
“This result is the relatively low capacity of fisheries officers and decision makers to mainstream gender in the development and implementation of national fisheries policies and plans,” she said. Ms Cham said gender analysis and mainstreaming is a crucial step in the stakeholder analysis steps of the EAF process.
“The Fisheries Gender Desk is a recognized team of trained officers from the national fisheries institution, nominated from the various units of this institution,” she said.