By Amadou Jadama
The National Association for Animal Production (Naap) has been launched last Thursday at the Department of Livestock Services in Abuko.
It is a non-profit professional association registered in 2020, and it seeks to build competency in all aspects of animal production and related discipline. Its membership is opened to animal scientists both in public and private, the initiators said.
In a statement delivered by Abdou Ceesay, the director general of the Department of Livestock Services on behalf Amie Fabureh, the Minister of Agriculture, said animal production contributes to sustainable livelihoods and food and nutrition security for more than 800 million poor smallholders in the world.
“It also supports in various forms including in natural capital (meat, milk, wool, hide, rangeland and pasture) financial capital (cash, saving, credit, insurance and gifts); and social capital (traditions, wealth, prestige, identity, respect, dowry and festivity.”
She added that animal production offers poor households with critical sources of high quality food products, which even in limited amounts are essential for enhancing quality of live especially for women of the reproductive age and for children and adolescence.
“In fact, it is one of the greatest contributors to a nation’s development,” she said.
The Gambia remains an import-dependent economy since independence with more than three-quarter of her animal product needs coming from outside, minister Fabureh noted. “This not only poses a risk to our food and nutrition security strive but forestall future development of the agriculture sector as well as the local economy.”
She said that the Ministry of Agriculture under the new dispensation is “committed” to increasing domestic production through formulation and implementation of policies and programmes to meet national demand in animal and animal products.
She said the coming of Naap is welcomed because it is in line with the public private partnership framework as enshrined in the National Development Plan.
“It is our firm belief that in order to make meaningful gains in this collective national transformation agenda, organisations like Naap comprising animal scientists must play a key role. The Ministry of Agriculture is willing to partner with you.”
Modou Sarr, the president of Naap, noted that the main disciplines of interest shall be nutrition, breeding and genetics, physiology, dairy science, meat science, animal traction, bee keeping, pasture science and development of animal welfare.
He said the association will work to promote animal science by ensuring that high standards of education research, technology and science-based public policy are upheld with regard to animal production and animal products.