The director general, department of livestock services, Dr. Duto Sainey Fofana has been speaking about the role and importance of the livestock sector in the country’s economic development.
Dr Sainey said the subsector accounts for about 30 percent of the Agricultural GDP and about 10 percent of the National Gross Domestic Product. “In fact, according to livestock experts, the share of the livestock sub sector to the GDP would be higher if the value of animal traction and organic manure in the prevailing mixed crop- livestock systems were also put into account,” he said.
He made this statement at the inauguration of the National Advisory Committee on the management of animal genetic resources, recently held at Paradise Suites Hotel.
According to Dr. Fofana, the sector is faced with enormous challenges to increase the productivity of the low- input production system and to promote private-led vibrant commercial livestock production system to meet the demand for animal and animal products of our growing population.
He further stated that the sector is handicapped by inadequate qualified personnel, animal nutritionists, veterinarians, range specialists, animal production specialists and livestock statisticians, to name a few.
He added that persistent bushfires during the dry season and lack of enforcement of legislation on the conservation of the environment is another problem that should be addressed.
“There is still the need to improve on both the quantity and quality of locally produced poultry feed to meet the growing demand of the poultry sub sector”.
Despite these challenges, there are numerous opportunities for the sector to expand like the increasing urban population and hotel industry with high purchasing power, the large population of endemic ruminant livestock etc, he added.
He also said the existence of modern facilities such as hatcheries and poultry processing faculties is an opportunity for the expansion of the poultry sub sector.
According to him, the country is endowed with a large population of endemic ruminant livestock which is adapted to the local environment and estimated at 420,000 heads of cattle, 200,000 sheep and 374,000 goats. “However, critical gaps still exist in these animal genetic resources. This has been amplified by the absence of a national strategy and action plan NSAP in alignment to the Global Plan of Action for the rational use, improvement and management of animal genetic resources.
“Therefore, in collaboration with the genetic project implemented by AU-IBAR, efforts are now geared towards the elaboration of a National Strategy and Action Plan for the management of animal genetic resources in the Gambia,” he noted.
He thanked AU-IBAR for the unflinching support it renders to the livestock sector. “I also extend my gratitude to all stakeholders who have made this forum a reality.”