Gambia: Cabinet Discusses Revitalisation of Cooperatives, Regulation of Veterinary Services

President Adama barrow on Thursday 16th January 2020 presided over the second cabinet Session of 2020.

The session deliberated on several issues, including the revitalization of cooperatives, regulation of veterinary services, establishment of national early warning system, among other matters.

The Information Minister during brief discussion with the media said Cabinet discussed a paper presented by the Minister of Agriculture for the revitalization of cooperatives in the existing agribusiness service unit of the Ministry of Agriculture. The attempt for the revitalization of the cooperatives is necessitated by a study commissioned by the World Bank Agriculture Value Chain Development Project, FAO, and Agriculture for Economic Growth Project to enhance production and marketing of agricultural produce.

The revitalization of cooperatives under the Agribusiness Services Unit is expected to create great opportunities to address timely access to inputs, marketing and value addition. It is also expected to help in the regulation and management of farmer cooperatives. The initiatives will also support and provide mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the quality of activities and programmes in the entire Ministry of Agriculture for effective decision making on cooperative matters.

The Hon Minister of Agriculture also presented a Cabinet Paper proposing for the enactment of a Bill to provide for the effective regulation of the veterinary services in The Gambia through the livestock health protection, food safety, animal and human welfare and international trade standards.

This new Bill seeks to replace the existing veterinary legislation which is considered outdated and inadequate to meet the current challenges affecting the livestock sub sector.

A Cabinet Paper for the enactment of the Plant Health Bill was also presented by the Hon Minister of Agriculture. This bill provides the legislative support in establishing a modern plant protection organization to appropriately and adequately deal with production gaps in Agriculture.

The Vice President also presented a paper on the establishment of the National Center for the Coordination of an early warning response mechanism in The Gambia.

The establishment of the early warning response mechanism is part of the broader ECOWAS initiatives established under Chapter 4 of the 1999 ECOWAS Protocol Relating to Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security.

Part of the responsibilities of the National Early Warning Center is to enhance 'proximity policing' and early response at local and national levels and also minimize the issues associated with the current over centralized regional response mechanism.

The objectives of the establishment of the National Early Warning Coordinating Center is to ensure the systematic monitoring and reporting of early morning indicators to provide real-time information for appropriate action to be taken by the government; to build synergies between the national, regional and continental institutions for more coherence response to crisis and to facilitate the collection, dissemination, analysis of data and raising alerts where necessary on issues that affect people's well-being.

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