Buying Points Halt Groundnut Trade over Cash Shortage

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By Biran Gaye

With the groundnut trading season opened a month ago, the buying points (seccos) in Sabach Sanjal District have halted the groundnut trade over shortage of cash supply by the National Food Processing and Marketing Corporation.

This comes days after Gambian farmers’ complained of selling their groundnut on credit to government as the latter hardly provides adequate cash to purchase groundnuts at various buying points, putting farmers in a delicate situation.

In Sabach Sanjal District, farmers say the buying points have stopped purchasing their groundnut on credit because they have credited a huge quantity of groundnuts worth millions of dalasi to the government. They added that some farmers have not still received their money after selling their groundnuts on credit almost a month ago.

Mam Bukary Gaye, a farmer and resident of Ngayen Sanjal, told Foroyaa that their buying point has stopped purchasing groundnut and that it lacks cash for more than a week, forcing poor farmers to sell the groundnut at a lower price than the usual price.

“The government should step up to make our payments immediately, what we are seeing now is contrary to what President Barrow had promised us during last meet the farmers tour,” he alleged.

“Our buying point has credited over 6 million dalasis and has now stopped purchasing our groundnut due to shortage of cash.”

He said this inadvertent standstill has been increasing their debt burden as businessmen brace up for increased interest on basic commodities obtained by farmers on credit, adding that they depend on their farm produce to provide for their families.

“This situation is providing the opportunity to businessmen to exploit poor farmers, considering we (farmers) have been taking basic commodities on credit to cater for our needs. Now when one wants to be credited by these businessmen, one has to exchange his groundnut for a basic commodity,” he explained.

Like the buying point in Ngayen, the Dibba Kunda buying point also purchases groundnut on credit these days because of inadequate cash to pay for the groundnut. Farmers lament slow payments of indebted groundnut by government as some wait for payment after crediting their groundnut for weeks.

Bassy Secka, another farmer and resident of Checken Village, expressed similar views, urging government to help them make payments to the farmers.

“I have sold my groundnut to the secco but I have not been paid since then,” he said. “We are all waiting to be paid.”

When asked for comment on the shortage of cash at the buying points, Muhammed Njie, the managing director of National Food Security Processing and Marketing Corporation, said the buying points sometimes experience inadequate cash because the corporation does not provide huge sums to individual buying points due to security reasons.

MD Muhammed Njie

“Logistically, it is difficult to move large sums of money to the buying points as it comes with risk,” Njie explained. “However, we also provide cash to make payments at the buying points (seccos) throughout the country if the supply exhausts.”

To address this payment delay, he said the corporation wants to digitalise the system through a mobile payment method. He added that the buying points sometimes stop purchasing groundnut due to accumulated debt in anticipation of cash supply.

MD Njie called on farmers to wait for cash supply before taking their groundnut to the buying points as it only piles up the debt burden on the seccos.