The PROGEBE-GAMBIA has on Wednesday, 22nd January 2013, held a sensitization and Information dissemination session for National Assembly Members, Local Representatives, Media Practitioners and Members of Networks on livestock and natural resources management, environment on laws, regulations and policy issues affecting the livestock sector at Tendaba Camp.
PROGEBE is a regional Project for the sustainable management of endemic ruminant livestock in West Africa operating in Guinea Conakry, Mali, Senegal and the Gambia.
PROGEBE-GAMBIA is being implemented in five districts of which three are primary and two are secondary sites. The primary sites are Nianija, Niamina East and Kiang West, while the secondary sites are Kombo East and Sami.
In delivering his opening statement, Mr. Sheriffo Bojang, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), said the Government of The Gambia (GoTG) attaches great importance to livestock breeding and management which results in government in collaboration with its partners to bring about PROGEBE and Livestock Horticulture Development Project (LHDP).
According to DPS Bojang, the livestock sector has been affected by institutional reforms in the past and the effect of which continues to cause constraints in its operations.
DPS Bojang cited the changes made from a fully fledged Department of Livestock to a unit within the Department of Agriculture (DOA) and its concomitant effect on the chain of command with the emergency in livestock issues. He noted that the Government of the Gambia is aware of these issues and has directed the re-establishment of the Department of Livestock Services with full responsibility for the subsector within the Ministry of Agriculture. He said the government institutions would be relying on sound policies, local rules, norms, regulations and laws to develop sound programs and strategies to achieve the overall government objectives for the livestock subsector.
The Agriculture DPS concluded that he is aware and inspired by the achievements of PROGEBE during the 4 year implementation period and which could only be sustained by a strong government institution with the view to take over the tasks should the project come to an end in December 2013.
Dr. Famara Bully Sanyang, the PROGEBE National Project Coordinator, said the forum is organised in accordance with provisions of the project activities implementation plan. He said PROGEBE at regional level is being implemented in four West African countries namely Guinea Conakry, Mali, Senegal and The Gambia.
He said the project aims are for the preservation of the biodiversity of endemic ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep and goats), to remove obstacles impeding their sustainable management and develop the huge livestock potential in the sub-humid zone in West Africa.
He noted that at the national level, PROGEBE-Gambia is being implemented in the Central River Region and Lower River Region and West Coast Region and in five (5) districts of three (3), namely Niamina East, Nianija and Kiang West, are referred to as primary sites; that activity implementation started since project inception in 2009; that Kombo East and Sami are referred to as secondary sites and that the active implementation started in 2012 to focus on success/achievement made in the primary sites.
The PROGEBE-Gambia Coordinator said the forum would avail the opportunities to participants to come up with tangible outcomes and with possible solutions to overcome some of the constraints hindering the Livestock department.
Based on the caliber of participants as law makers, policy makers, enforcer of rules and regulations, and opinion shapers, he said, he had no doubt that the objectiveS of the forum will be successfully realised.
For his part, Mr. Ebrima Jawara, the Coordinator of Central Projects Coordinating Union, commended the participants for their attendance and urged them to ensure that the issues surrounding the livestock sector are judiciously treated and to come up with the Way Forward in addressing some of the bottle necks.
After the opening session,Presentations were made to mar thetechnical session of the workshop.The following Presentations were made namely:- results of the baseline situation to highlight the challenges of Animal Genetic Resources preservation; critical review of the livestock policies and lawshighlighting their strengths and weaknesses against the requirementsof Animal Genetic Resources preservation and development; the results of the review of laws, rules and regulations on Animal Genetic Resources and Natural Resources Management, highlighting theirstrengths and weaknesses against the requirements of Animal GeneticResources preservation and development.After the technical session of the workshop, Participants were dividedinto two groups to mar the working group of the workshop.Group one was tasked to critically look into the issue of AnimalGenetic Resources while Group two looked into the ManagementNatural Resources.Each group made a presentation on their findings and recommendations which led the participants to the plenary session of the workshop.At the plenary session, the participants reviewed the findings andrecommendations of the working groups. In their review, the participants identified the items and subjected them to advocacy and built recommendations and mechanisms for collaborationand partnership for implementation.Day two of the workshop witnessed field visits of selected activitieswithin Kiang West Project sites which exposed the participants to theProject's achievements in the field.The first Project site to be visited by the participants was theMini-Diary in the Kiang Sankandi, followed by the Livestock Market inKiang Jattaba; Livestock watering facility in Kiang Koli Kunda; KiangJali, the Livestock Slaughtering house in Keneba and finally thebreeding Program activities in ITC Keneba Station which wasrehabilitated by PROGEBE-Gambia.Farmers' Eye will deal with the presentations, Findings andRecommendations of the workshop in subsequent editions.