Thursday, June 24, 2021

‘Small Ruminant Project Aims to Improve Livelihoods of Pastoral Farmers’ Says Project Director

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Mamud Njie, the Project Director of the Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SREPEP), said the primary objective of the project is to contribute to the improvement of livelihoods of pastoral farmers in the Gambia.

He said this can be done by strengthening the production resilience of the rural communities, as well as stimulating business and entrepreneurship in livestock sector to enhance productivity through the genetic improvement, feed systems, production and marketing, as well as innovation of product processing techniques.

“The project is US$26.8 million and that the Islamic Development Bank, which is the main donor is funding 25.17 million. The said figure is broken down into three different categories, namely IDB Loan, Islamic Solidarity Fund and the Installment seal,” he said.

Mr. Njie was speaking on Wednesday before the National Assembly Committee on Monitoring and Implementation of Government Project, to provide the committee members with an update on the said project.

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“The project aims to construct 10 livestock markets, 10 modern meat stalls, 10 slaughter houses, 15 veterinary pharmacies, 20 watering facilities across the country. It also aims to form 60 schemes of which 30 for breeding and 30 schemes for fattening,” he told the committee.

Under the Islamic Microfinance, he said they would recruit two microfinance institutions, with nationwide coverage and have Islamic Microfinance window, adding that when they tendered the scheme, 5 institutions who expressed their interest were shortlisted and each given a form to fill.

“We have signed a contract for the drilling of 20 boreholes nationwide. Currently the technical and project teams are conducting confirmation of site, where the boreholes will be drilled,” he said.

“The criteria for the selections of villages to benefit from the project are that the village is high concentration in small ruminants but have no access to water.”

He told the committee that in the next 18 months, the project would complete the construction of the ruminant markets, slaughter houses, modern meat stalls, 15 veterinary outlets, two mini modern diaries and model livestock training center, 60 breeding schemes for both local and exotic and 2 mini diaries.

Njie also stated that the project intends to support 600 farmers, each with a quarter of hectare of pasture which will be fenced. They would also be given seeds and be trained, he said.

“This is to ensure that animals do not depend solely on groundnut hay, but feed on the grass farms. We will also begin the nationwide vaccination campaign on PPR and Pasturolosys to ensure that the animals are protected to ensure that the animals survived to be able to increase the production and productivity,” he said.

Photo: Committee Officials

Sulayman Saho, Chairperson of the Monitoring Committee, said they invited the officials to provide update on the Small Ruminant Project and urged them to be proactive in responding to the invitations extended to them by the committees of the assembly.

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