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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Gambia livestock faces extinction threat – Expert

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Mendy called for concerted effort to provide more grazing and settlement lands for cattle and other livestock within the Kombos which, he said, are being lost to human settlements.

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He said: “The earlier we prepare space for our livestock, the better. The problem can be solved if each district creates a land for livestock. In ten years, with this trend, The Gambia will have fewer cattle and if we have fewer cattle, we will have nutritional problem. This will have an effect on the price of meat in the long run because when the commodity is scarce, its price goes up.

“In fact, this is contributing to the rise of the price of meat because even the cattle dealers are going to Mali, Senegal or Mauritania to get cattle to slaughter- how much does it cost them to travel to these destinations and come back? Will an ordinary farmer be able to buy a kilo of meat? It won’t be possible- so the earlier we manage the little land resources we have, the better. If we keep mismanaging them, a time will come when we will only depend on importing meat.”

He added: “The animals are ours and the authorities should try and find a grazing place for them. There is no cattle in even Lamin and Kombo Kerewan. That was what happened in Bakau, Kanifing and other places in Kombo. This is happening because they have sold all their lands and made them settlement areas. The rural-urban drift is the cause of this over population and dense population is taking away lands from livestock owners. This is the reason why in certain places in Kombo North women are complaining of cattle destroying their gardens. 

“This is because there are no grazing lands – all the lands were sold and houses are built on them. This is facing all categories of livestock. If you go to Kanifing today, you may not even see a single person with a goat. The town planners should have that foresight of leaving reserve lands for grazing – I mean livestock management. If you closely examine it, the grazing area for cattle, in the whole of Kombo, is running out. This trend is worrying because we will end up sending all our livestock to the provinces and even in the provinces, if there is no well thought-out land management strategy that will make grazing and settlement lands available for livestock, we will face the same problem there as we are already facing in the Kombos. If you go to the Brikama court, it is full of land issues and the same land issues will go to the provinces.”

Mendy was speaking to The Standard at Kubariko, Kombo North, where women gardeners, like their colleagues in Kunkujang Jataya, Mandinari, Kombo Kerewan and Makumbaya, complained of cattle intrusion into their vegetable gardens, causing them huge monetary loss.  


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