By Saidou Baldeh
A project has been launched in the country Friday to help alleviate poverty and increase the population of small ruminants.
The Project Management Unit (PMU) of the Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SREPEP) in partnership with the Central Project Coordination Unit (CPCU) under the Ministry of Agriculture launched the nationwide project, said to be the biggest and most promising livestock production enhancement initiative. The project was given by the Islamic Development Bank, IDB.
The project, which will target rural and peri-urban communities in The Gambia, will also work to create job opportunities for women and youth in the country.
Speaking during the five-day launching at various regions across the country, Mamud Njie, the project director, said SREPEP has various components with set targets across the country purely on livestock production.
“The project will last for four years and it is a loan to the government of The Gambia,” he disclosed.
He said the aim is to discourage the importation of small ruminants from neighbouring countries and encourage self-sufficiency in meat production.
He said: “The project through a value chain approach, will cover production management, genetic improvement and disease control, access to finance, infrastructure modernisation and human capital development.”
The project will reach 39 districts across the country, with the objective to enhance livestock production and productivity, he added.
Speaking further, Mr Njie said the project will build capacity of livestock owners, butchers, dealers and construction boreholes, meat storage facilities, of markets, laboratories and medicines for small ruminants.
“We will work closely with all regional livestock directors and governors and chiefs to ensure the success of this project,” he noted.
The total cost is estimated at 26.81 million dollars of which IDB contributed 25.17 US dollars and the government of The Gambia, 1.64 million dollars.