The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Wednesday handed over procured cold chain equipment, materials and veterinary drugs to the Animal Health and Production Services of the Department of Agriculture.
The materials, which were meant for the Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pheumonia (CBPP) vaccination campaign, were handed over at the FAO Representative Office in Fajara.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Dr. Babagana Ahmadu, FAO's Country Representative, said they were pleased to hand over essential vaccines and related equipment, valued at approximately GMD 750, 000. The donated items, which included 400, 000 doses of vaccines, 10 deep freezers for the storage of the vaccines and other laboratory uses, 10 fridge freezers, 55 cool boxes and automatic syringes, were meant to facilitate nationwide vaccination of cattle herbs in the country.
He stated that the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia is considered the biggest threat to cattle production in the sub-Saharan Africa.
He said cattle production and by extension, livestock farming provide livelihood support for a greater number of households and communities in The Gambia.
Mr. Ahmadu said the Government of The Gambia, in collaboration with the FAO Country Office and its partners would spare no effort to ensure that this disease is fully contained in The Gambia, to prevent its further spread.
He further stated that the vaccines were expected in the country within a short period of time, given the urgency of the need to immediately commence the country mass vaccination.
"I am to announce that the FAO Country Office has fulfilled its commitment to support the Ministry of Agriculture and most importantly the government and people of The Gambia to fully contain this contagious disease which is a high risk factor on the cattle population in The Gambia, "said Mr. Ahmadu.
The local FAO boss added that, "if this deadly animal disease is not contained with urgency, it would run the risk of undermining the significant gains registered by the country in the areas of agriculture and food security."
While stating that there are other items that are not available locally, he said, they have placed the requisite orders to procure additional items which guarantees that it will be available very shortly.
He concluded by saying that the FAO will continue to support the government of The Gambia in the fight against CBPP for its complete eradication.
Alfu Marong, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, who received the donated items, on behalf of the government, said it was a great honour for him to receive the materials, adding that they will make the necessary efforts to see that the disease is controlled in the country.
He said they are eager for the vaccination campaign to start, as he highlighted the importance of constant flow of information during the campaign.
The handing over ceremony was chaired by Dr. Kebba Daffeh, the National Coordinator of the CBPP vaccination campaign.