A new board of directors was inaugurated for the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) last Wednesday. The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Agriculture conference room in Banjul. It could be recalled that GLMA was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008, but the agency started its operations in 2010.
In her inaugural speech, the Minister for Agriculture, Honourable Amie Fabureh said the mandate of the Agency was to promote the commercialisation and marketing of livestock in the country. The agency is also to facilitate the participation of Gambians in the marketing of livestock.
"Until the establishment of The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA), the livestock trade was dominated by non-Gambian bogus dealers and butchers who operated at the expense of the producers," Minister Fabureh said. The Hon. Minister pointed out that the livestock markets were not organised and in some cases not accessible to producers. She said producers were denied the opportunities of realising the true value of their animals because they were compelled to rely on the farm gate as the only channel to sell.
"The marketing of livestock was not conducted under any regulatory framework that would enable the different actors in the livestock value chain to duly harness the huge economic potential of the trade," the minister said. She called on board members to familiarise themselves with the core activities of the agency. Minister Fabureh highlighted the achievements registered by the Agency which she said is in line with the National Development Plan.
According to the minister, the number of local farmers involved in marketing of their own animals has increased gradually replacing the non-nationals who dominated the market prior to the creation of the agency. The Minister tasked the new board to strive to ensure that the agency becomes a standard livestock marketing body within the sub-region. She expressed her ministry's readiness to support the board in fulfilling its oversight mandates.
The chairman of the newly inaugurated board, Dr. Sainey Duto Fofana emphasised the significant role of the livestock sub-sector. He said the sector contributes about 10% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 40% of the overall agricultural contribution to the GDC. Dr. Fofana noted that the National Development Plan (NDP, 2017) emphasises livestock as an important drive for achieving the targeted 4% growth in the agricultural sector by 2020.
"I am prepared to take up this challenging task just like I have done with other challenges during my active career as a civil servant and livestock expert," Dr. Fofana dared. He added that with the support of the board members coupled with the technical support from the director general, the board would not lose sight of its priority of improving the short and long term performances of the Agency. The newly appointed chairman promised to continue collaborating with all stakeholders both locally and internationally.
The newly inaugurated board comprises 10 members, Dr. Sainey Duto Fafana as chairman and Ebrima Cham as secretary general. The occasion was chaired by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture Momodou Mbaye Jabang.