Friday, January 27

ECOWAS FRSD Gambia Pilot, NACCUG disburse starter kits to 60 artisanal fish processors

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This initiative implemented by GIZ and jointly sponsored by the ECOWAS Commission and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is among plans to disburse more starter kits to artisanal fish processors operating within the coastal fish landing sites in the Greater Banjul Area. The kits include improved sun drying racks, wheelbarrows for the transportation of fish, pots and pans for cleaning and preparation and PPE.

Speaking during the presentation, Mariama Ashcroft, microfinance adviser for GIZ project, stated that the project started in the country in March 2020. She added that they work with young people including women and migrant returnees to help them start a business to generate more income and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

She added that the project is intervening in the Greater Banjul Area, Lower River Region and the Upper River Region, citing that their target was between 18-35. She noted that the fisheries sector works with women up to age of 50.

“Another focus area is value addition. For example, we don’t support the catching of fish or buy them boats or nets. We focus more on smoking, drying and transportation. We also have a mini-grant scheme in partnership with NACCUG where we buy them equipment based on the activity they want to engage in and provide them with a fish-smoking stove known as Nopale.” 

She continued that they have 36 beneficiaries in Sanyang, 27 for Gunjur, 12 for Kartong, 8 for Brufut, and smaller numbers for Old Jeshwang, Bakau and Banjul.

Yankuba K. Touray, head of Operations at NACCUG, stated that the project is called Micro-enterprise Startup Support Initiative (MESSI) geared towards empowering more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. He added that the project is intervening in three regions and in three value chains including poultry, fisheries and horticulture.

“We will be giving a maximum grant of D60, 000 so that it can help them generate more income and save some that can generate their loan to scale up. Access to finance is important in what we do.”

Momodou Cham, principle fisheries officer also reiterated that fish processing is an activity dominated by women. He added that women face a lot of challenges in the process which include the lack of materials.

“The items will go a long way in improving the quality of our fish, and people’s health and generate more income,” he added.

Oumie Jaiteh of Gunjur and Sira Jawo of Sanyang, both beneficiaries, expressed similar gratitude to the donors for the great gesture while promising to use the item as expected.