NO TROUBLE AT CRR RICE GROWERS’MEETING DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

with Abdoulie Dibba

This column is devoted to monitor and report on issues that are relatingJahally Pacharr to food security in the Gambia as well as the interventions of Government and Non-governmental Organizations.

Following the publication of the arrest of Haruna Gassama, the President of the Central River Rice Growers’ Cooperative, on Monday 2nd March 2015, readers have enquired whether an Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held and whether Foroyaa attended. In this edition, Farmers’ Eye will re-publish the report after the AGM which runs as follows:-

 “A letter banning certain members of the CRR Rice Growers Association from attending their Annual General Meeting which was initially scheduled for 29th December 2011 drew Foroyaa into the scene to find out where the directive came to ban members of an association from taking part in the most important activity of the association. On Thursday 5th January2012, the Association did convene its meeting and had the audit report and that of its President presented to them. They also elected a new committee.

In his remark as Chairperson of the Annual General Meeting, held at Brikamaba in Lower Fulladu West District, Central River Region South of the Gambia, Mr. Danso of Agri-business told the general members that their Association has been registered as a Co-operative Society in 2005 and as such, the Association should be directed and controlled by the members through their elected Executive Committee members according to the by-laws of the Association. He indicated that they are in the hall to have their Annual General Meeting during which they are expected to elect or retain their Executive Committee. Mr. Danso pointed out that the Annual General meeting will witness the following programmes: the presentation of the report of the President of the Association Mr. Alhagi Musa Jumbo Trawally and the Presentation of the Audit report of the Association from 2008 to 2010 by Cherno A. Mballow and Election of Executive Committee members that would steer the affairs of the Association in the coming year.

After the formalities, the President of the Association was called upon to give his report. This was followed by the Presentation of the Audit report which will be covered in greater detail by this reporter in the next issue.

In presenting his report, the President of the Rice Growers Association Alhagi Musa Jumbo Trawally indicated that the total membership of the association is 2033 and that the society engaged in the production, milling and marketing of rice and that tidal irrigation is being used.

The President told the members that the society is being assisted by the Taiwanese Mission, Action Aid the Gambia, Farmer Managed Rice Irrigation Project and the Gambian Government.

In a bid to attain double cropping, the following land preparation equipments are reported to be required to do the work on time. He expressed his hope that in the coming season ploughing will be completed within 3 weeks for both Jahally and Pacharr perimeters. This is due to the observation that given the difficult ploughing conditions and the life span of the machines, on the average  a tractor is expected to plough two hectares per day and a power tiller a hectare per day. The number of tractors and power tillers that are required were quantified as follows: Jahally 15 tractors and 12 power tillers; Pacharr 20 tractors and 15 power tillers.

On Land Development

The President informed the members that in collaboration with ROC, AATG and FMRIP, 400 hectares were developed in Jahally and 1125 hectares in Pacharr. He made projections that 3 tons could be harvested per hectare.This would give a total yield of 6390 tons if the 1005 hectares available in Jahally and 1125 hectares available at Pacharr are put under cultivation.

On Income

The president indicated that since it is agreed to sell  50% of the yield at 7 Dalasis per kilo, it is anticipated that the  3195 tons would be reduced to 1917 tomns after milling. According to him if this is sold at D850 per 50kg they would earn D32,589,000. If all expenditures are subtracted they would gain a gross profit of D10,224,000.

He concluded by saying  that members who are registered are entitled to vote to change their committee or maintain the committee members..

In presenting his audit report, Cherno Mballow asserted that he is pleased to inform the members that they have carried out the audit of their accounts for the period 2008 to 2011 as well as some accounting work to enable them to finalise the audit. He pointed out that it is standard auditing practice and a legal requirement for auditors to ensure that they obtain all the information necessary to carry out the audit and that it is also the responsibility of the executive committee to provide the information and to prepare financial statements which give true and fair view of the state of affairs of the society’s operations.

Mr. Mballow asserted that during their audit work, tests have revealed that no records were made in the books of accounts, cash book transactions were evident but incomplete, some cash receipts were drawn and complete, there was no cash payment voucher and that no ledger book was maintained.This reporter will focus more on the audit report in subsequent issues.

Election of Executive Committee Members

After the presentation of the report of the President of the Association and the audit report, a management committee was selected in accordance with the by-laws of the Association comprising representatives of all Villages whose responsibility it was to elect the executive committee members.

After the selection of the management committee and registration, they were taken to a room to elect the president, vice president cashier and assistance cashier. In an election presided by an electoral body comprising a representative from Agri-business, the department of Agriculture and the security, the following emerged as winners: Haruna Kassama as president went unopposed, Ousman Mballow vice President with 23 votes, Alhagi Bano Njie as Cashier with 27 votes, and Jaiyeh Baldeh as assistance cashier with 23 votes”.