Partnership fast tracks poultry farming in The Gambia

19 April 2022
ITC News

Volunteer organization PUM from the Netherlands and ITC collaborate to boost poultry farming in The Gambia to create jobs in this promising sector. Together they have trained more than 180 farmers, built the capacity of nine institutions, coached over 300 farms.

The International Trade Centre recognizes that ‘Partnerships4Purpose’ can contribute to impactful projects and sustainable outcomes. To celebrate the teamwork behind these efforts, ITC is proud to highlight game-changing initiatives that are made possible through strong and meaningful collaboration.

With its expanding population, ever increasing food import bill and the need to create greater food security, the continent of Africa will have to continue to invest in agriculture and agripreneurs if it is to meet this challenge. This is part of the reason that the International Trade Centre (ITC) with support from the European Union launched the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) in 2017 in The Gambia. The initiative boosts small business growth, value addition in key sectors and supports young people to become entrepreneurs while meeting the growing demands of the country’s consumers.

ITC identified the poultry sector as an economically vital sector that not only feeds the local, and in due time the regional population at low costs, but that can create jobs for youth and thus improve the country’s overall economy. However, the sector had suffered from a lack of investment and business support to farms, value chain integration and policy support.    

The unique approach: Sector-wide vision paired with bespoke industry support

At the onset, ITC teamed up with PUM, a powerhouse of volunteering experts. The goal of PUM (or In Dutch: Programma Uitzending Managers) is to strengthen the position of small companies, their suppliers, and adjacent industries in the market, thereby creating a positive impact on the economy, environment and society.

PUM was already offering business advisory services to individual Gambian clients. Through the partnership, ITC combined PUM’s industry expertise in poultry and international networks with a sector-wide approach for The Gambia poultry sector that also comprised entrepreneurship support, access to finance, market linkages, institutional capacity building and value chain coordination.

Through this collaboration, poultry farmers benefited from best practices, farm visits by experts and in-person consultations. The support to develop the poultry sector was extended to government institutions and service personnel through training trainers, engagements, and high-level consultations.

The impact: A youth-led transformation for jobs and development

Since 2018, more than 180 farmers have been directly trained and more than 300 coached through onsite farm visits and online. About 100 youth poultry farmers accessed grants and loans and were able to increase their production and productivity next to creating more than 100 additional jobs. More than 50% of them have increased their production three-fold, thereby tripling their incomes. The surge of young poultry farmers led to the establishment of the Young Poultry Farmers Association and increased collaboration among farmers and other value chain actors, including hatcheries and feed mills.  

With the sector being traditionally highly import-dependent and targeted at tourists, the COVID-19 crisis has shown how important it is for the farmers to becoming self-sufficient as a means of contributing to food security. This is one of the reasons PUM and ITC are supporting the young entrepreneurs through hatcheries to anchor the value chain within The Gambia rather than having to rely on the importation of chicks from neighbouring countries.  

Bubacarr Jaiteh from Jeshwang in the Gambia is a case in point: a young poultry farmer who started his farm with around 150 chickens on a terrace in his family home now owns a vast property housing over 4,000 of chickens. He benefitted from ITC’s partnership with PUM to realize his dream.

Moving forward: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

PUM and ITC are aligned in their values of supporting small business and creating jobs to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Moving forward, ITC’s goal is to introduce dual-purpose chickens (those who are raised to provide both eggs and meat). This low-cost production is efficient, and the chickens are more resistant to diseases, while providing nutritious protein.

The sector-wide approach that supports the key pillars of the poultry sector, is sustainable as it ensures expertise, investment, and a local market for poultry.

In the words of Joost Gerrits, PUM Programme Manager, “This partnership is unique. It is a clear example of the good we can do when we come together”. 

ITC sees this as one of the partnerships in The Gambia that is both scalable and replicable throughout the continent. By ensuring the investment is market driven, targets youth and builds on the value proposition of both partners, PUM and ITC have contributed to reinvigorating the poultry sector in the country and showed a path to greater food security.