Chinedu Osiagwu

Barrow lays out plans to grow Gambia’s economy through aquaculture

The Gambia has no important mineral or natural resources, and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and animal hides

In fact, Short-run economic progress remains highly dependent on foreign aid, and on responsible government economic management as forwarded by International Monetary Fund technical help and advice.

But the tiny country on the African mainland, as described by World bank, is not only planning to boost Aquaculture industry, or fish-farming, as a  source of employment and  food security but also a source for foreign inflow.

The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries, Fatoumata Sosseh-Jallow, last week revealed the intent of the Adama Barrow administration,  according to her “the government of the Gambia is fully committed to the development of aquaculture industry to its fullest capacity to fight the escalating food and nutrition deficits and boost the country’s foreign exchange.”

Barrow, 51, inherited a heavily indebted nation from the former President Yahya Jammeh, who has been accused of embezzling more than a billion dollars, leaving the economy very clouded

To support the government in its drive towards this ambition, $28 million has been provided by Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), Trust Funds for implementation for the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP), supervised by the African Development Bank (AFDB)

The program which is geared towards contributing to improved nutritional standards in rural areas, creating employment and generating supplementary income in rural communities, through fish pond farming schemes is gradually yielding fruits.

The FASDEP project is also targeted to three highly food-insecure regions in the country, through an integrated area development program that includes land and water management, horticultural gardens, aquaculture farming, and small ruminant and poultry farming.

The government of The Gambia is fully committed to the development of this sector to its fullest capacity, Sosseh-Jallow noted.

The main objective of the project is to establish a solid base for the provision and access to good quality fingerlings and feed, as well as technical and technological know-how, managerial and other skills to farmers and fisheries officers, in order to turn aquaculture into an economically viable, financially self-sustaining and employment generating sustainable enterprise.

The provision of hatcheries and feed mill plants in the country by the FAO is highly commendable, since it is very significant for the development of the aquaculture sub-sector in The Gambia, she continued.
Also The Department of Fisheries and Water Resources, last week received $420,000 from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), for Technical Cooperation Programme to enhance the capacity of youths and women for employment in aquaculture.