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Gambia’s Horses, Donkeys Threatened In Food Shortage

mission3(Horsetalk) – A charity holds fears for the horses and donkeys of Gambia, as a severe food shortage in the poor West African nation begins to bite.

The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust, a small British-based charity, has stressed the need to keep the nation’s crucial working animals in as good a condition as possible, to ensure they are ready to pitch in for their owners when conditions improve.

“The farming communities of The Gambia are facing real difficulties and, of course, when the people suffer, the animals suffer too,” a trust spokeswoman said.
mission3
A youngster gets a helping hand.


“In order to prevent the crisis from worsening it is essential that we keep the animals healthy, so that they’re ready and able to work when hopefully the rains start again this year.

“If the present situation continues, the animals that survive will be in such poor condition from starvation that they will be unable to work, thus creating a downward spiral.

“The animals are essential to the livelihoods of Gambian farmers – without them the farmers are unable to carry out their farming duties.

“Malnutrition increases the risk of infection and infectious diseases, which are common in The Gambia, and is a major risk factor to humans and animals alike.”

The charity noted that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation had declared the need for urgent support in areas of West Africa, including The Gambia, due to a severe food shortage.

The trust said poor and unpredictable rain patterns in 2011 meant the harvest was extremely poor.

“This has resulted in a shortage of fodder for livestock as well as shortages of food for Gambian families. Numerous families are facing severe malnutrition and possible starvation.

“The shortage has also resulted in a dramatic increase in grain and fodder prices, making it extremely difficult for poor farming communities to be able to afford to purchase these items. Urgent action is required to prevent a full-scale food and nutrition crisis.”

The trust works to reduce rural poverty through improving the health and welfare of working equines, through a combination of veterinary services and education of animal owners and their children.

It said that during the current dry season, little plant life is able to survive.

gambiamissionGambian farmers rely on the previous year’s harvest to feed their animals, but these supplies are now severely depleted and even completely diminished in some areas.

The rains usually begin in June or July, which marks the start of the farming season.

Gambian farmers rely heavily on livestock, and particularly on equines, for farming duties such as ploughing and sowing, and these animals are essential for the survival of Gambian families.

“We are currently consulting with Gambian Authorities and other experts to find the best way to help alleviate the problems. This may involve shipping fodder for the animals in the worst hit areas as a stop gap until the rains fall and the grass begins to grow.

“We are urging people to help in any way that you can. If you are able to make a donation to the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust, however small or large, please do. We really do desperately need your help to enable us to help the farming families in The Gambia through this very difficult time of crisis.”

For more information, or to help, visit www.gambiahorseanddonkey.org.uk. There is an online donations tab. People can also visit its Facebook page.

Comments  

 
+1 #4 2012-04-21 18:47
I don't blame the International Community for being cautious and slow to respond.....You know why... ?

Because :-

(1) The government knew well in advance that due to failure of crops,food shortages may result and lead to famine...Did they do anything ? Instead,they spent D10M on the inauguration,he ld a meaningless National Assembly Elections and so called victory celebrations in ALL regions...

(2) No sooner had Jammeh's begging delegation from Qatar landed in Banjul,than rumours of NON DECLARATION OF ALL FUNDS RECEIVED began to circulate in the country and abroad.... Who would offer help under such circumstances...NGO's should lead this campaign to give it credibility and trustworthiness ... This government has lost the trust of the International Community...As well as RIGHT THINKING AND SENSIBLE people...
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+1 #3 2012-04-21 17:34
Poor animals...Suffering through no fault of theirs....Well done to this organisation...We should ALL support their efforts...

As for starving families...Well,this should be a ' Wake-Up ' call...Gambia,with our vast water resources,shoul d not be depending on rain fed agriculture,alm ost half a century of self rule...Yes,rain is a natural phenomenon which no government,cert ainly not the APRC,has control over...But crop failure due to lack of sufficient rainfall in The Gambia is our fault..

Sensible exploitation of our water resources towards food production should lessen the effect of rain shortage within a few years and make us food self sufficient... Only if we elect those who know what they are doing...And understand their roles as leaders...
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0 #2 2012-04-21 15:37
quote:
“The farming communities of The Gambia are facing real difficulties and, of course, when the people suffer, the animals suffer too,”

comment:
I wish the truth have a tongue, if this animals can talk, they will recommend their owners to do everything/anything to stop their dictatorail regime in The Gambia.
Crocodile liberator jammeh`s crocodiles & his other animals will never be hunger but the Gambians & their animals will.
Gambia/the Gambians can only grow better without the dictatorship, it must be dismantle because the bandits are delaying Gambia`s/Gambians progress`.
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-1 #1 2012-04-21 12:11
The sad fact is that the international community is not helping our country during these times. The pledges made have been few and muted. The international community is mad at Gambia because of the criminal regime of Yaya Jammeh. To add insult to injury he was insulting the international community again on Thursday. Because Yaya is not educated beyond high school, he does not know that donors will only provide aid when they are satisfied that it will be used well.
I encourage all Gambians to donate to this charity and others as our poor and starving country is badly in need of help.
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