By Landing Ceesay
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Hon. Seedy Keita has informed the Gambian Lawmakers that the Fisheries Department will embark on a US$25 million Climate Resilient project.
“The Fisheries Department, through funding from Green Climate Fund (GCF) will embark on a US$25 million project to enhance climate resilience of vulnerable fishing communities. The project will also intervene to rehabilitate the existing fisheries jetty in Banjul and ensure licensed industrial fishing vessels comply with landing requirements in The Gambia as well as increase employment, and availability of fish for domestic consumption and ultimately reduce malnutrition and poverty,” Hon. Keita informed the Parliament.
The Finance Minister further stated that the Fisheries sector remains high on the Government’s development agenda as having “enormous” potential to contribute to the national socio-economic development.
He said the Ministry continues to make interventions to increase elimination, eliminating or reducing post-harvest losses, and increasing fresh fish availability to the interior of the country, especially to increase protein intake in rural communities.
“The fisheries sector is faced with a myriad of challenges including climate change, the impact of COVID-19, and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict. The latter has destabilized trade routes and created a rise in oil prices which is the major input for both artisanal and industrial fishing vessels.
“The soaring prices of oil have had serious negative impacts on the entire fisheries value chain such as an increase in the cost of pre-harvest fishing inputs, a rise in unemployment, and a fall in foreign exchange earnings. The sector also continues to suffer from growing Irregular, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing from both artisanal and industrial fishing, coupled with increased pressures on marine resources due to over-exploitation and population growth factors,” he said.
The Finance Minister said With the Government will continue to make “significant” interventions to improve conditions in the industry.
He said in the area of artisanal fisheries, the Government is providing fisheries infrastructural facilities, fishing-related equipment, and a means for fish distribution and marketing within the country in collaboration with development partners.
Hon. Keita said through different partnerships, improved fish smoking facilities, such as the FAOThiaroye Technology (FTT), have been provided in major fish landing sites in the country.
“The provision of the FTT smoking facility will contribute to the processing of high-quality standard smoked fishery products. It will improve the health of women fish smokers as exposure to smoke is virtually non-existent. The technology is energy efficient as it uses less fuel and wood compared to the traditional methods of smoking fish,” he said.
Hon. Keita said through the Climate Smart Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Development Project, with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Water Resources Department has now constructed 108 solar-powered piped-water supply systems, out of the targeted 144.
Hon. Keita told the Lawmakers that the project is aimed at providing safe and quality drinking water to 400,000 rural settlers, and that additional drilling will continue once the rainy season ends.
“Additionally, the Water Resources Department, through support from the Japanese Government, has constructed 27 solar-powered piped-water supply systems to benefit people in rural communities. The Government of The Gambia has invested D10 million in the drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes in the Central and Upper River Regions. Upon completion of the program, seventeen (17) communities are expected to have access to safe and quality drinking water,” he told the Lawmakers.
Hon. Keita made these remarks at the National Assembly of the Gambia, while giving his 20233 Budget Speech.