FISH4ACP and The Gambia strike 10-year agreement to transform mangrove oyster production

Responsible Seafood Advocate

Ten-year plan for sustainable growth of mangrove oyster production to benefit women producers and stabilize oyster stocks

mangrove oyster
Agreement on a 10-year plan for sustainable growth of mangrove oyster production in The Gambia will support oyster sector to benefit women producers and stabilize oyster stocks. Photo courtesy of FAO.

FISH4ACP and The Gambia have signed an agreement to adopt a 10-year plan for sustainable growth of mangrove oyster production. The plan is anticipated to benefit women producers and stabilize oyster stocks.

The agreement stems from joint efforts of public and private sector representatives of the Gambian oyster value chain and FISH4ACP – a global fish value chain development initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) implemented by FAO with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“This agreement bolsters our support to Gambia’s oyster sector,” said Fanta Bojang Samateh, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters. “It is of great importance for the women who dominate this sector, allowing them to feed their families and improve their livelihoods.”

The strategy lays down an ambitious roadmap for the sustainable development of oyster production in The Gambia over the next decade. It contends that growth is possible because of increasing demand on the local market, but stresses that “improved and participative resources management is essential” to make the exploitation of wild oysters more sustainable and to address decreasing oyster stocks.

At the same time, The Gambia’s emerging oyster aquaculture sector will be supported with financially viable new production methods, an increase in the number of oyster farms and an update of the framework regulation oyster farming.

Pilot schemes to trial the sale of new oyster products – such as fresh oysters or oyster shells for poultry feed or jewelry products – as well as the exploration of new marketing channels will feed into a market strategy for the oyster, which will be based on robust product hygiene standards for consumer safety.

Market development will go hand in hand with improvements in equipment and infrastructure. These will be partly financed by value chain actors themselves, who will be supported to get better access to financial resources.

“The agreement reached today underpins our resolve to transform the oyster sector into a sustainable venture,” said Moshibudi Rampedi, FAO representative in The Gambia. “FISH4ACP shows how we can make the oyster value chain resilient and meet a growing demand for nutritious, safe and affordable food while maintaining sustainable ecosystems and leaving no one behind.”

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