By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Traders at the ongoing Trade Fair organised by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) have noted that they are yet to see the customers in their large numbers and are therefore calling on them to come and buy what they have on offer.
Visiting the stands at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Tuesday, 30 May 2016, this reporter interviewed some of the traders who expressed their concerns regarding the low turnout of customers so far but are optimistic that it will improve as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan approaches. The traders are selling different kinds of products ranging from household wares to agricultural produce.
Saffie Jammeh, a young lady selling cosmetics, said the trade fair this year is not that much lively due to the low turnout compared to previous ones. She, however, expressed hope that people will be coming there in large numbers as it progresses.
The vegetable sellers revealed that they are making sales every day and would want more people to come and buy their farm produce. As for some of them, these trade fairs have been helping them over the years as a market outlet to sell their vegetables.
“This is the only access we have to come to the Kombos and sell our garden produce,” said Fatou Damba from Taybatou in Wuli Nyakoi in the Upper River Region (URR).
Abdoul Aziz Faal, a physically disabled handicraft dealer, applauded the market outlet created for them by the trade fair but also noted his concern regarding the low turnout of customers.
Mr. Faal said he is urging people to come and see the quality and beautiful products that they have on offer and to patronize them.
A Senegalese businessperson explained the difficulties he had to encounter when coming with his products as this was at a time when the Gambia-Senegal border was closed.
“I paid a lot of money on transportation when I was coming in addition to the D12, 000 for the renting of a stall,” he disclosed.
He also joined the call for customers to visit the trade fair and buy quality products.
Earlier, during the official opening ceremony of the trade fair, Mr. Muhammed Jagana, President of the GCCI, had noted the impact that the continued closure of the border would have on the traders coming from the countries in the sub-region such as Senegal.
He also noted that trade fair is a platform where small and medium enterprises can expose themselves and products to the general public or customers.