Friday, March 1, 2013

The Gambia: Government says over D600 million fish market will ease poverty, create jobs

The Bakoteh Fish Market at "near completion" in July 2012 (Photo credit: Daily Observer)
The Bakoteh Fish Market, which said to worth US$22 million (over D600 million), will ease poverty and create employment opportunities for the beneficiaries, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said on Wednesday.

The twin social problems, poverty and unemployment, have been on the rise in the tiny West African country from 1994 till date, the period almost all national statistics are pegged.

In a statement read on his behalf by Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, the country’s Vice President, he said the objective of the project, the newly built fish market, is to increase fish production and income of fisherfolk and to contribute to the improvement of nutritional standards of the population.

Indisputable potential

The market, funded by the African Development Bank (ADB), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Government of The Gambia (GoTG), was inaugurated on Feb. 20, 2013 at Bakoteh, a village in the densely-populated Kanifing Municipality.

Cropped version of :Image:Gambia President Yah...
Cropped version of :Image:Gambia President Yahya Jammeh.jpg for portrait only (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The market is made up of three island sites and has 91 stalls combined.  Already, as part of the project, 91 fish traders have been trained on the use of the facility and fish handling and processing, environmental hygiene and financial management.

The fisheries sector contributes approximately 4.2 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, GDP (the total value of goods and services that The Gambia produces in a year).

Hence, Jammeh said the sector continues to occupy centre stage in government’s development agenda due to its indisputable potential to contribute to the promotion of the health of Gambians through good nutrition.

Post harvest loses

“The operation of this (Bakoteh) market will greatly reduce post harvest losses within Kanifing Municipality,” Mass Axi Gaye said. “It will improve the sale of fish and fishery products under hygienic conditions thus providing quality fish to the consumers.”

The Gambia’s Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources said: “This will further increase the income of the beneficiaries, particularly the women, thus contributing to poverty reduction.”

He appealed to   the institutions charged with the task of operating and managing the fish market to involve beneficiaries or their representative in the administration of the market.

This, he said, will ease communication between the beneficiaries and the management. 
Opening Plenary - Ajaratou Isatou Njie-Saidy, ...
Opening Plenary - Ajaratou Isatou Njie-Saidy, The Gambia. Photo: IISD RS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter John Ndow, Project Coordinator, Gambia Artisanal Fisheries Development Project, talk about the money.

He explained that the first phase of the project worth US$14.5 million while the second worth an additional US$7.5 million - to finance mainly the construction of the market and rehabilitation of its three inland sites.

He said the project has five main components: improvement of fisheries facilities and infrastructure under which falls the construction of the Bakoteh fish market; strengthening of fisheries department capacity; strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance; fisheries credit programme; and project management.

The North Bank Evening Standard understands the management of the market would be entrusted through a signed management contract to the Kanifing Municipality Council (KMC) as provided for in the loan agreements. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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