NO CASH IN THE SECCOS FARMERS AT THE MERCY OF MIDDLE PERSONS

Abdoulie G.Dibba

Farmers in the Gambia are complaining about being at the mercy of middle persons NO CASHwho are purchasing their groundnuts at a cut throat price since the seccos have not been buying for some now due to the lack of cash.

According to some of the farmers in the North Bank Region who spoke to Farmers’ Eye, this year’s trade season is unusual given the fact that the seccos have only disbursed cash only twice to buy their nuts, which compelled them to sell to middle persons at D14,000 per ton or D14 per kilo rather than the official secco price of D15,250 per ton. The farmers further explained that they are doing this because of the credit buying at the seccos which, they added, takes so long before they receive their monies.

Talking to one Mamat Jobe, a farmer, on Thursday 12th February 2015, he said as for him he is selling his groundnuts to middle persons at D14 per kilo, but one woman buys it at D1000 per bag and then decorticates the unshelled nuts and sells at the lumos (weekly markets).

Another farmer, Babou Gaye, told this reporter that he has sold five donkeys of groundnuts which is 10 bags (equivalent to 689.2 kilos) to a middle person and earned D9,650 which could have fetched him D10,511 at the secoos. He lamented the loss of D861 in this transaction.

Modou Secka said the major private traders are offering two options to farmers regarding the purchase of their groundnuts. He explained that for farmers who want immediate cash payment, they are being paid D14.50 per kilo, while for those who prefer credit buying are being given D15.00 per kilo for which the payment takes longer. Further explaining what cash buying means, he said the farmer would give his/her groundnuts to the private trader who will in turn sell them to the GGC Depot and come back and pay. He added that this could take up to three weeks.

Editors’ Note: It is important for the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) to issue a press statement to explain to the general public and farmers, in particular, what is holding the smooth flow of cash to the seccos (buying centres).

Farmers are entitled to a yearly income and, as such, they need and deserve a proper marketing season.