SRPEP pastoral gardens to improve rural livelihoods
By Sulayman Waan
As limited access to high value feed remains a key factor contributing to low productivity of small ruminants in The Gambia, the Small Ruminants Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP) under the Central Project Coordinating Unit (CPCU) at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has supported establishment of Intensive Pasture Gardens in The Gambia.
The SRPEP aims to contribute to the improvement of the livelihood of rural and peri-urban communities in The Gambia by strengthening the productivity and resilience of production systems and stimulating entrepreneurship in the livestock sector.
The five-year project focuses on enhancing small ruminant development through a herd health support mechanism, increasing productivity through genetics improvement and increasing access to feed and pastures, supporting production and marketing management, enhancing innovations in product/processing techniques, and facilitating access to Islamic finance through a revolving fund.
Speaking at Sare Pateh in Wuli West, Upper River Region north, a beneficiary community, Mod Secka, permanent secretary, MOA, accompanied by senior management team of the ministry, said livestock plays a key role in socio-economic development of every given nation.
Thus, he said, The Gambia government is committed to develop all aspects of Agriculture including livestock to enhance food security and socio-economic growth.
PS Secka thanked the community and urged them to manage the site well and endeavour to serve as role models to help scale up the production and availability of feeds.
He expressed optimism that the initiative would contribute towards reducing the crop farmers’ and herders’ conflict.
Gidaado Dem, village head, Sareh Pateh, commended the Ministry of Agriculture and partners for providing such an important innovation to livestock farmers. He said it would go a long way in helping animal producers to have sufficient animal feed. He assured of their commitment to the project.
Emmanuel Mendy, deputy director general, Department of Livestock Services (DLS), said the pastoral scheme is geared towards providing the needed feed for livestock owners in Sare Pateh, Wuli West and the satellite communities.
He expressed appreciation of the cordial and productive partnership between his department and the SRPEP.
He said quality water, feeding and veterinary services are important to ensure effective livestock production and productivity. “If the livestock eat as expected they will be very healthy and that is why we deem it necessary to initiate such a project for livestock owners,” he said.
He urged the residents of Sare Pateh to take full ownership of the project and to create a seeds bank within the garden to ensure continuous availability of the seeds.
Mamud Njie, director, SRPEP, explained that the site is part of the 20 Intensive Pasture Gardens established by the project across the country. He praised the community for their commitment to the intervention, noting that the project team is pleased with their hard work and the management of the site.
Director Njie enjoined the beneficiaries to keep up the momentum, while assuring that the project will provide them with a harvester and sickles to ease harvesting and to ensure proper handling of the fodder. He also said the management committee would be trained on management to ensure productivity and sustainability of the intervention.