EU Rehabilitates Three GGC Tugboats for Effective Groundnut Marketing.
by Femi Peters TAV
The inauguration ceremony of the rehabilitated GGC Tugboats took place at the Slipway of the GGC complex at Denton bridge on the 13th of August, 2010.This occasion was graced by the presence of the European Union charge d affaires, Madam Helene Cave, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Tangera, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Hon Halifa Kambe, Minister of Finance Abdul Colley and a host of other dignitaries.
Chairing the Occasion, The Director General of Agriculture who called on Anthony Gabriel Carvalho, the Managing Director of The Gambia Groundnut Corporation to give the opening remark of the ceremony. During his remark, he pointed out that in 2007,the Government of the Gambia and the European Commission commissioned a Groundnut sub sector roadmap which recommended amongst others the liberalization of the groundnut sector, the rehabilitation of GGC tugboats, the provision of an aflatoxin laboratory for the GGC, the provision f electronic weighing scales and screens to 40 cooperative produce marketing societies and a quality assurance framework ensuring products meet the prevailing international quality standards.
However by 2008, working through the gateway project and the EC based on the Framework of Mutual Obligation (FMO) STABEX 99, the Word Bank rehabilitated the depot handling equipment and scales, the shelling and crushing plants and purchased two engines for the river transport tugboats. In the same vein the EC provided the 40 electronic scales and screens, equipped the GGC Control Laboratory, supplied the GGC Depots with ELISA test kits to conduct rapid analytical tests to segregate Aflatoxin contaminated stocks from Aflatoxin free consignments, commissioned the Groundnut sub sector quality assurance framework for the reduction of Aflatoxin contamination levels in groundnuts and the rehabilitated the hulls of the GGC tugboats to receives the two world bank funded engines.
Having commissioned these tugboats for use in the evacuating groundnuts from the provincial depots to the Denton Bridge Processing Plants would greatly increase the turnaround time for better marketing of the groundnut products.
Also speaking at the inauguration ceremony was Madam Helene Cava, the EU Charge d affaires who also spoke on the need of the rehabilitation of the tugboats, saying that one of the major factors over the years that contributed to prolonged handling, processing and export of groundnuts and groundnut products had been the delay of evacuation of stocks from upcountry. This rehabilitation of these tugboats would also reduce the lengthy storage time requiring frequent phytosanitary treatment of stocks with associated risks of exceeding permissible international Maximum Residue levels (MRL) of contaminants
The Permanent Secretary and National Authorizing officer of the EDF, Mr Sirel Cham making a speech on the occasion also confirmed the need of the tugboats and confirmed that the STABEX FMO 1999 project was a 3 years project with a budget of 1.6 million euro. However the rehabilitation of the three tugboats had cost close to Five hundred thousand Euros, giving credence to the contractors Scheepsbouw Nord Nederland for a job well done.
Summing up on the speeches made on the inauguration ceremony was that of the deputy minister of agriculture, Honourable Hailfa Kambe, who briefly spoke on the EU funded FMO STABEX 99 project, the aims and objective of the project and the main target groups which are the Gambian Competent authorizes, agencies and laboratories responsible for regulation, control and certification on quality assurance in the groundnut sector, the major industrialist in the groundnut sub sector(GGC), Non governmental bodies such as association of producers like the Cooperative Produce Marketing Societies CPMS, transporters, processors, marketers and NGOs. These interventions were primarily focused on the improvement of the competiveness of the groundnut sector which will contribute to rural development poverty alleviation and eventually achievement of the millennium development goals.