By Kebba Secka
Abdou Marong, a cashew grower in Ngain Sanjal village, has appealed for the Government of the Gambia to come up with a better buying price for the cashew nuts beyond the price given for groundnut.
In an interview with this reporter, Marong said he wants the government to buy a kilogram of their cashew produce for a minimum of one hundred dalasi (D100). He said as farmers, they are concerned because government’s recent buying price for groundnuts was nowhere close to good when compared to the cost of the fertiliser. He further explained that the last time he bought a fifty kilogram bag fertilizer, the price was close to two thousand dalasi. Abdou said cashew cultivation is challenging and requires immense labour and financial investment before one is able to realise any benefits. He said when the government sold fertiliser for two thousand dalasi per fifty kilogram bag, he spent ten thousand dalasis for only five bags and paid labourers additionally to clear his farm.
“I do not anticipate a poor price to be imposed on us for our cashew produce just like it was done with groundnuts,” Abdou said, and said even the price of middlemen is much better than the price the government imposed on them.
He indicated that government should prioritise prices of farm produce like groundnuts and cashews, because of the high cost of investment for the production of these cash crops, and suggested for the government to enhance dialogue with farmers.
He said prices of cahs crops like groundnuts and cashew, should be set by the government in consultation with the majority of farmers.
Marong also urges government to seek food aid due to crop harvest failure in most parts of the country.
On the issue of access to the state’s provision of social amenities, Marong concludes that there are no basic health care facilities such as health centres in close proximity except in Ngain Sanjal, where one can access a health post.