THE GAMBIA – The government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, has inaugurated fish feed mills and aquaculture facility worth US$442,000 funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The project under the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) on ‘Support to Enhancing the Capacity of Youth and Women for Employment in Aquaculture’ is aimed to create new jobs, generate revenue and foreign exchange in the country, reports The Point.

According to James F.P. Gomez, Minister for Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, the country is particularly well positioned for fresh, brackish and marine fish farming and that the provision of these facilities will act as catalysts for enhancing food and nutrition security including economic development.

The fisheries sector of The Gambia is divided into two subsectors which include the industrial fisheries sub-sector, which is capital intensive and involves the use of fishing trawlers and the establishment of land-based fish processing plants. It is foreign-dominated.

The other sub-sector is Artisanal fisheries activities, which is donaminated by local fishers, fish processors and fish distributors and marketing operatives. Their activities are relatively low capital intensive, and the operators are scattered along the coastal and inland communities.

The Minister acknowledged the support government is gaining from FAO while challenging young people and women to take the lead in the project, as well make sure that the project is sustainable.

Shibu Rampedi, FAO country representative in The Gambia, clarified that whenever they get an opportunity to work with government or the communities, and utilise the technical cooperation, they see it as a start and an enabler for more to be done.

“We see that building a fish feed mill can create local opportunities that are aligned to what is happening in the world,” she stated.

“Fishing as a sector cannot only rely on fisheries; there is an opportunity for aquaculture and there is an opportunity to make sure that facilities such as the ones inaugurated are built and supported over the long term to not only create jobs for the youths and women but to also support fisheries and aquaculture value change,” she added.

The Gambia in its current National Development Plan for 2018-2021, is anticipating to increase fish and fish product exports from 32 to 43 percent, and intends to raise national budget allocation to the aquaculture sector from GMD 2 million (US$ 39,000, EUR 35,500) to GMD 10 million (US$ 195,000, EUR 177,800) by the end of the plan period.

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