The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) recently commenced the 13th edition of the annual ‘Tobaski’ (Eid ul-Adha) Ram sale at Abuko showground from the 1 July to 9 July 2022, under a free and liberal market environment.
The objective is to facilitate the availability and affordability of rams to meet national demand.
The sale also seeks to enhance marketing through increased access to rams by maximising the influx in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) where the demand for rams and purchasing power of buyers is higher.
Speaking at the conducted tour at the sales ground, Mamud Njie, project director, Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project, said that the showground allows dealers both Gambians and foreigners to sell their animals in a safe and secure place since it is a Muslim feast and most people would need these animals for their religious obligations.
“We are more prepared this year than last year since most of the challenges regarding the availability of water and security and electricity were solved prior to the commencement of the ram sales,” he added.
He revealed that the only constraint the dealers complain of this year is the inadequate shades as the feast is happening in the rainy season. He added that that too would be looked into before 2023.
“Some of the interventions the SRPEP is engaging in are the Islamic credit facility and from the credit facility, 40 million dalasis has been taken by small ruminant farmers to buy animals and to improve production. Out of that amount, 68% went into buying animals to sell during the Tobaski,” he stated.
According to him, this would increase the number of animals, income as well as increase the participation of Gambian farmers.
“At the trade fair by next year, we would want to construct a borehole so that the dealers will not be depending on NAWEC for water and we also hope to increase more shades for the showground and the credit facility,” he assured.
Momodou Darboe, director general, Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA), said that GLMA is engaged in the commercialisation, marketing, and trade of livestock in The Gambia, and as a body responsible for trade in the country, their core mandate is to facilitate and promote sales of livestock in the country.
According to the DG, earlier this year, they conducted a study in order to know whether the stock in the country is enough. However, he said, they realised that it was not enough and therefore, they could not rely entirely on the native farmers lest there wouldn’t be enough animals for the Muslim feast.
GLMA was also engaged in sensitising farmers through the various media outlets throughout the nation revealing to them that there would be enough water, electricity, free accommodation, and security.
He further stated that the Ministry of Agriculture also gave support which came in the form of subvention and through Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project, which catered for the rehabilitation of four bathrooms and the construction of new ones. DG intimated that a significant amount of the funds went towards connection of water supply 600m from the showground.
Kanimang Barra, an animal dealer from Wulli, who benefitted from the Islamic loan, explained that the major challenges they encountered last year were insufficient water, electricity, and the menace of thieves. But he stated that that has been solved this year.