By Mustapha Jallow
The staff of the National Livestock Owners Association, The Gambia (NaLOA) on Wednesday held a five-day intensive training aimed at engaging butchers and dealers on meat hygiene.
The objective of the engagement was to improve safety of domestic meat supply or sales in the country.
The 30 participants were taught about cutting, headlining and entrepreneurship on meat.
The session was funded by Swiss Cooperation through (COFENABVI-Oa)- a livestock value chain body in West Africa that is based in Burkina Faso. Organised by NaLOA with technical expert trainers from the department of livestock service (DLS), the training was held at the Abuko Abattoir on 8th September 2021.
Mr. Ebrima O. Jallow, the president of NaLOA, said the training aims to link the livestock value change actors, especially farmers who are involved in butchering. He said the other focus of the training was capacity building for the Gambia livestock’s value chain actors towards national food security, economic independence and employment
Jallow said butchering is the end product of livestock and it should be handled with proper care and hygiene as it will contribute to the country’s health care system. He gave examples of how some countries in West Africa handle meat, saying it is far better than The Gambia. He said the training is a step in the right direction to tackle some of the challenges in the sector and enhance the capacity of butchers.
“This can only be done by having such training for them (butchers/dealers). I therefore called on all farmers, butchers, dealers and even poultry farmers to be united to make a difference in the country. The livestock sector was a bit neglected, but now that people are trying to understand, even the farmers understand the value of livestock,” he explained.
The NalOA President assured that before the end of his term as the president of NaLOA, the sector will change to a better one. He urged the butchers to be professional in their work.
Saja Kora, Marketing Officer for Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency, said the participants will be exposed to different modules; among them meat handling, meat cutting, meat hygiene, personal hygiene, and marketing.
“This type of session is very important because a butcher should be good at handling meat in a hygienic way in order to attract customers. I urge all butchers to be hygienic and professional in their work,” he urged.
Kora explained that most of the butchers are not certified which is key.
“People want to buy meat that are from healthy animals and meat that is fresh and soft, of good quality that even the hotel industries can buy and use,” he said.
Kora said NaLAO is working tirelessly in tackling livestock issues in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the butchers/dealers, Musa Njie, thanked the organisers and the funders for bringing butchers together to train them to ensure they are professional in their work, saying health and hygiene are very important in anything one is doing in life.