By Sailu Bah
Fass is among the biggest livestock selling markets within the sub region. Livestock dealers from different destinations within and outside the country converge in the area to sell and buy live animals.
Speaking to cattle dealers at the livestock selling point (Daral) at Fass on Wednesday 20th August 2014, they noted that the appreciation of the CFA over the Gambian Dalasi is hindering their business transactions.
Malick Bah, a cattle dealer from Karang in Senegal, said he buys cattle from Senegal and brings them to Fass where he sells them, adding he sometimes buy live animals from Gambia and take them to Senegal for sale.
He added that things are getting harder now because the CFA is appreciating against the Gambian Dalasi which is making business difficult for him. He said the CFA5000 is sold at 450. He noted that the depreciation of the Dalasi against the CFA means they would incur losses if they were to buy livestock at certain prices in Senegal and resell in The Gambia.
“During those days when the Gambian Dalasi was in good shape, I used to buy several cattle in Senegal and bring them to the Gambia for sale or I buy from The Gambia and take it to Senegal and resell and make a huge profit. But now it is very difficult for me to even buy one bull/cow because the profit margin is very small,” he lamented.
According to Bah, he has been in this business for the past 7 years, but now things are getting harder.
Sulayman Bah,a cattle dealer said the “Daral” in Fass lacks lots of facilities to facilitate their work.
He also bemoaned the lack of a water facility at the “Daral,” pointing out that they do walk a long distance to fetch water for their cattle.
“We don’t have any fence to secure our animals from thieves. The place is an open place with no proper monitoring which means our animals are not safe,” he explained.
He called on the authorities to help them with loans to expand their business.
Bah said they do slaughter their animals in an open place which is not proper. He appealed to the authorities to help them with a proper abattoir where they can slaughter their animals in accordance with standards set by veterinarians.
Omar Jallow, president of the goats and the sheep dealers’ association in the area added his voice to the concerns raised by his colleagues.
“A Gambian goat or sheep dealer pays D1000 and a foreigner pays D2000 as license fees for business operations,” he explained
Samba Jibeh Bah, President of the cattle dealers association in lower Nuimi and the Divisional President of the North Bank region cattle dealers’ association, acknowledged the concerns raised by the livestock dealers. He added that the appreciation of the CFA currency over the Gambian Dalasi is of great concern to them.
“There are bulls costing up to D35, 000. The price of a bull or cow depends on its size and the type one needs,” he explained.
Mr, Bah finally appealed to the municipal authorities in the area to erect a standard abattoir for them.
Momodou Lamin Yabo, a Veterinary and Public health officer, said he is there to check whether the animals coming in and going out of the country are in good condition of health.
“I am the one responsible for checking the health status of all the animals coming in the Gambia through the Amdalai border and those leaving the country through the same border post. I am also responsible for checking the health status of all livestock within the Amdalai and Barra catchment area,” he concluded.