FAO supports small holder farmers to boost poultry, horticulture production

By Sarjo Camara-Singateh
The Department of Livestock Services and FAO have signed a one yearFAO and Agric officials at the signing, handing over ceremonies
technical cooperation programme (TCP) designed to improve livelihoods
and food security of small holder farmers through enhanced
commercialised poultry production.

The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry
of Agriculture’s conference Hall on the 29th of December, 2015.
An amount of US $411, 000 which is equivalent to sixteen million, four
hundred and forty thousand dalasi (D16, 440,000.00) is provided
for the initiayive.
Madam Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO County Representative, said the
objectives set by the ministry to ensure food self-sufficiency under
the TCP is to strengthen and increase production in a sustainable way
and is consistent with the country frame work.
She said the first pillar is food security and agriculture production,
while sustainable natural resources management is the second pillar.
The FAO Rep noted that in 2014 the Gambia’s imported 9,504 metric
tonnes of poultry which cost the country $2 million dollars and 3,722
metric tonnes of eggs at the tune of $840 thousand dollars, while
local production of poultry meat and eggs were at 1120 metric tonnes
and 850 metric tonnes respectively. She said there is huge potential
for the country to boost poultry production.
Mr. SherrifoBojang, deputy Minister of Agriculture, noted the cordial
relations that exists between them and the FAO and thanked them for
the support. He said the FAO has signed a series of technical
cooperation programmes with his ministry. He assures FAO that the
funds will be utilized judiciously.
The Director General of Livestock Services, Dr. DutoSainyFofana, whose
department is the implementing institution, said the technical
Cooperation Project called the Assistance to Enhance Commercial
Poultry Production for Food Security is meant to support “a
sustainable broiler and egg industry, producing additional meat and
eggs, which will result in the reduction of the importation of poultry
products as well as create employment and income generation, thereby
increasing food security and significantly contribute’ to the growth
of the national economy.”
Dr. Fofana said the TCP will facilitate the establishment of 24
commercial poultry production schemes and that it is envisaged that
these will be owned by the poor and vulnerable households who will be
producing an additional 65 metric tonnes of poultry meat and 605,000
eggs.
“The documents we are to sign today is not only a commitment to
improving the livelihoods of farmers but also efforts to join hands
for the attainment of food self sufficiency and food security,” said
the DG Livestock Services.
He said this is the first of its kind and therefore a clear
manifestation of the good relationship between FAO and the Gambia
Government that began a long time ago.

In another development, the FAO handed over vegetable seeds, worth D1, 172, 200, 00 to the department of agriculture through the
ministry of agriculture for onward transmission to the farmers.
Madam Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, the FAO country representative, before
to handing over the vegetable seeds and fertilizers, said as part
of its assistance to vulnerable farming communities in the Gambia, the
FAO has procured vegetables seeds and fertilizers worth D1,172,200.00.
“The intervention was funded by the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) through the 2015 Central
Emergency Relief Fund Project,” she said.
The FAO Rep said some months ago they were able to make a similar intervention.
Madam Kalala said this support will increase women’s income sources
and provide nutrition. She revealed that the vegetable seeds includes,
onion, okra, tomatoes, bitter tomatoes and urea fertilizer
Mr. Ebrima Jawara, project coordinator, said this intervention is
timely, adding that most of the communities are involved in
horticultural gardens and that the ministry of agriculture spends a
lot of money on horticultural gardens.
He said horticultural gardens are now supervised by the Horticultural
Technical Service Unit.
He noted that most of the gardens are being supported by GICAP and NEMA.
Mr. Sait Drammeh, Permanent Secretary 1, chaired the sessions.
According to officials, the project amounting to US411, 000 will support the
establishment of 19 broilers and 5 layer schemes. Each of the schemes
will receive a one off support for one year of 500 day-old-chicks,
materials, inputs, trainings and health care as initial support. It is
envisaged that the livestock farmers will be self-sustaining (both
technically and financially) using proceeds from the sale of the first
batch of broilers (for the broilers) and eggs (for the layer schemes)
to procure and sustain the production process. The project will
provide chicks for the layer schemes