At least 65 community fisheries cooperatives were recently trained on fisheries value-chain management at the National Nutrition Agency, along the Bertil Harding Highway.
The three-day synergy, organised by the Department of Fisheries, was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), through a Technical Cooperation Programme entitled “Development of the Artisanal Fisheries in The Gambia’’.
The two-year project seeks to develop the sub-sector through capacity building of fisherfolk in improved fishing techniques, fish handling and processing skills; quality control and fish waste management, to be more effective in terms of sustainable resource management.
Speaking at the ceremony, Matarr Bah, the Director at the Department of Fisheries, said fishing and fisheries related activities are of paramount importance to the economy of The Gambia. He maintained that the sector contributes significantly to the country’s food self sufficiency agenda, as enshrined in the country’s Vision 2016.
Bah explained that the FAO/TCP development of the artisanal fisheries in The Gambia initiative has its main objective to assist the Government to enhance the development of artisanal fisheries sub-sector and related activities through the engagement and participation of all stakeholders in a participatory process, that will improve and raise awareness in the overall fisheries value-chain management to ensure fish products safety for local consumption and export.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, he went on, has undertaken steps to reform and update the Fisheries Act of 2007.
He indicated that the Fisheries Regulations Act of 2008 will be copied and made available to fishing communities to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Fisheries Regulations. This, he added, will enable them take full responsibilities of fishing and fishery-related activities in their localities.
Modou Njie, a consultant for the training, said the training is only one of the numerous cooperation activities that FAO had with the Government of The Gambia and in particular the Fisheries Department.
“This training on value-chain management of Fisheries products is part of the FAO /TCP programme that is to support the Ministry through the Department of Fisheries to increase the gains of fisherfolk, the local economy and national economy as a whole.
“I wish to reiterate FAO’s commitment to continue collaborating with the Government and the Fisheries sector in general in making the sector more productive and in meeting Government policies on the food security, livelihood improvement, nutritional improvement,” he stated.
Biran Faye, the coordinator of the Technical Cooperation Programme, underscored the importance of the training and urged the participants to make best use of the forum.
by Lama S Jallow