Abdoulai G. Dibba
The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday July 2nd 2019, handed over 6,000 bags of fertilizer to their offices in the country for sale to farmers.
The handing over of the fertilizer which was done at their Banjulinding premise, is part of the 600 metric tons of a Japanese input grant to the Government of the Gambia, half of which has already arrived in the country. The rest is expected shortly according to the authorities.
According to the Director of Agri-business Abba Sankareh, the 300 metric tons of fertilizer which is equivalent to 6,000 bags, will be distributed to seven Agric. regions of the country. Director Sankareh said Upper River, Lower River, North Bank, Central River (South), Central River (North) and the West Coast Regions, will be given 900 bags each for sale to under privileged farmers, whilst urban Agriculture will be given 600 bags.
According to Director Sankareh, the selling points are as follows:
In the Upper River Region, Giroba kunda mix farming centre will be the selling point for that area; In the Lower River Region, Jenoi and Kwinella are the selling points for that area; In the North Bank Region, Kerewan and Farafenni are the selling points for that area; In the Central River Region South, Boiram Mix Farming Centre is the selling point for that area; In the Central River Region North, Njau Mix Farming Centre is the selling point for that area; In the West Coast Region, Banjulinding is the selling point for that area and in the Urban area, Bakau Horticultural Garden will be the selling point for the area.
Abba Sankareh informed the press that the fertilizer will be sold and proceeds will be deposited in the Japanese input grant account at the Central Bank, for further use by Government on projects meant to address food security, upon approval by the Japanese Government.
According to the authorities, to effectively and efficiently sell the fertilizer, sellers will provide collateral in case of default; that the fertilizer will be sold at D700 to farmers and sellers will pay D650 to Government and retain D50 for themselves.
In his statement at the handing over ceremony, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture Lamin Camara indicated that the 300 metric tons of fertilizer is part of the 600 metric tons of the Japanese input grant to the country.
He indicated that the fertilizer will be sold at D700 per bag; that gone are the days when some people will buy the fertilizer in large quantities at D700 and resell to farmers at D1,000.
PS Camara asserted that his Ministry will make sure that the selling process is adequately monitored and receipts will be given to every buyer to ensure accountability.
Apart from these 6,000 bags of fertilizer, PS Camara indicated to this reporter that another 6,000 bags are expected from the Japanese input grant; that the National Food Security, Processing and Marketing Corporation stock of 5,000 metric tons of fertilizer will arrive on Monday July 8th 2019.
“We are getting high quality fertilizer to boost the productivity of the farmers. When there is shock in Agriculture, economic growth declines,” PS Camara concludes.