Hon. OJ Jallow, Minister of Agriculture

(JollofNews) – Gambia has validated the country’s 2016 livestock census report with the agriculture Minister calling for diversification of the agriculture sector for a robust growth.

The timely collection and analysis of accurate and reliable livestock data is required to enable policy makers and institutions engaged in livestock and livestock related activities to plan, follow-up and prepare appropriate and timely responses to issues affecting the development of the livestock sub-sector.

Agriculture Minister Omar Amadou Jallow said the exercise involved the counting of the number of livestock the country, saying this will help the government in its livestock management preparation.

Accurate and timely data can promote the formulation of livestock policies and regulations, reduce disease incidence, increase production and access to markets.

The last National Livestock Census was conducted in 1993 but was never conducted until this time due to the lack of appropriate livestock policies and regulations in the country.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) funded the 2016 National Livestock Census through a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) while the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) in collaboration with stakeholders coordinated the implementation of the project.

Perpetua Katepa Kalala, FAO representative said livestock significantly contributes to Gambia’s economy and livelihood of the population. He said it also has huge potential to make significant contribution to food security.

She said there is now increased awareness on the role of livestock on Gambian economy as may people now rares and uses different livestock spieces as food.

Lamin Saine, Deputy Director of livestock department said about 60% of rural households in developing countries are partially or fully dependent on livestock for their livelihoods. “Livestock is a natural capital that has shaped the lifestyle of my raids of human communities with its products and services through time are available all over the world.”