WHAT IS HOLDING THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE GROUNDNUT TRADE SEASON?

Abdoulie G. Dibba
Farmers are complaining about the lateness in the commencement of theCPMS
groundnut trade season which they say is causing them financial loses.
Some of these farmers who spoke to ‘Farmers’ Eye’ disclosed that they are now at the mercy of middlepersons who are buying their nuts at cut throat prices.Farmers in both the North Bank and the Central River regions revealed that the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) has signed an agreement with their Cooperative Marketing Societies (CPMS) since December 2014, but that up till now they have not received any communication from them.
On Thursday, 1st January 2015, this reporter met a group of farmers on horse carts loaded with groundnut.
Modou Ceesay, one of the farmers said he was going to Madina Sabach in Senegal to sell his produce.
When asked why he was going to Senegal to sell his groundnut, Ceesay
responded that it is because they have not yet heard announcement from Government regarding the commencement of the trade season this year. “I cannot sell my nuts to middlemen at D800 for a bag of 60kilogram. So I have decided to go to Madina Sabach where I can earn at least D1000 plus,” said Ceesay.
Malick Nyang, a horse cart owner said he is transporting farmers with their nuts to sell across the border in Senegal. He said he carries
12 bags per trip and charges D25 for each of the 60 kilogram bags.
He revealed that sometimes he makes at least two trips a day depending on the demand.
He, however, called on the Government to assist them with opportunities for permanent employment as their work is only seasonal and would end with the trade season.
Talking to Ebrima Boye in Niamina, he said they have finished winnowing since December but are still waiting for the announcement of date for the commencement of the trade season and price of nuts for this year’s trade season.
“In order to get money to care of certain urgent needs, we are being forced by the situation to sell
our nuts to middlemen,” he said.
Monday, December 16th 2013 was declared by the Agribusiness Services and Producers’ Association (ASPA), the inter-professional body vested with the management of The Gambia groundnut sub-sector as the official start date for the 2013/ 2014 groundnut-marketing season in The Gambia.
However, in trying to find out what is holding the commencement of
this year’s trade season, FOROYAA was reliably informed that ASPA is no longer the inter-professional body vested with the management of the groundnut sub-sector in The Gambia and that GGC, the main
buyer of groundnut, is now under the office of the president.