The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) yesterday signed a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) with the Ministry of Fisheries geared towards enhancing youth and women employability in Aquaculture.
The project, dubbed; ‘Enhancing the capacity of youth and women for employment in aquaculture’, is a two-year Project with a budget of US$442,000.
The project aims to establish four hatcheries at strategic locations in the country. These hatcheries will produce fresh water, brackish water and salt water fish. The capacity per hatchery will range between 800,000 – 1,000,000 fry (small fish) annually.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hon. Pa Ousman Jarjue, the Minister of Environment informed that Government secured the TCP in 2015 in order to develop the artisanal fisheries sub-sector. ‘’The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources thought it wise to seek funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation for another TCP that will solely intervene in the Aquaculture sub-sector,’’ he affirmed.
In response to the request, he added that the FAO sent a senior fisheries officer from Rome, Italy, to come and assess the status of Aquaculture development in the country and formulate a TCP facility based on the needs of the country.
According to the Minister, the FAO expert, together with Fisheries officials conducted situational analysis and needs assessment of some Aquaculture establishments in the country.
Minister Jarjue disclosed that an assessment report has revealed three main constraints hindering Aquaculture development in the country noting that if those constraints are not ameliorated, Aquaculture will not make any significant contribution to the country’s food security. These three constraint areas, he added are: lack of quality fingerlings (small fish); lack of quality fish feed; and inadequate technical know-how with regard to Aquaculture (both farmers and Fisheries officials).
He added that during the project implementation period, local consultants as well as Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries (TCDC) and Technical Support Services (TSS) experts will be recruited in different outcome areas in order to facilitate the smooth running of the project and achieve the designed objectives.
Speaking earlier, Madam Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, the FAO Country Representative said The Gambia enjoys comparative advantages in that the country is characterised by marine, brackish and fresh water facilities.
According to her, almost all the fish farms in the country are earthen or cement/concrete ponds, noting that there are still potentials for other technologies including rice-cum-fish culture, cage, pen, raceway, tank aquaculture and commercial shrimp production technologies.
On the project, she buttressed the contribution of the FAO Blue Growth Initiative; the main goal of which is to improve fish supply for food and nutrition through more efficient and sustainable use of aquaculture resources.
by Samba Jawo