By Isatou Kanyi
Members of the Gambia Cashew Farmers Association have on Saturday, 22nd February held their annual general meeting (AGM) at the Regional Education Directorate in Brikama.
At the meeting, officials from the trade ministry introduced the EIF Project (EIF) for farmers which according to the officials will help promote investment in agriculture and will also help the farmers. The federation is a non-profit and non-political entity.
Louie Sylva, the President of the Federation of Gambia Cashew Farmers Association said the congress has been long overdue because they have not been communicating for almost six years. He added that they think it is wise to gather and restructure their federation for the best interest of the stakeholders and the nation.
Sylva emphasized that they are faced with problems, saying there is need for them to work together in order to achieve their dreams.
Louie said: “In June 2014, representative from all cashew farmers association in the country, held a congress in Jenoi and elected the first executive committee of the federation to manage our activities. Unfortunately, they failed in all their duties and responsibilities mandated to them by the general body.”
Dwelling on their constraints with the former executive, he highlighted that the federation failed to register and affiliate with all registered cashew farmers’ associations.
He continued that the previous administration has never conducted a meeting and are yet to present their activity reports to the general membership.
Bakary Saidykhan, from Gambia investment Export Agency said: “We are ready to help the farmers on their export investment. We want to add value to cashew marketing and export, for examples if cashew is selling for 50 dalasi, we will buy it at 60 dalasi to add value since cashew has no fixed price in the market.”
Mr Saidykhan added: “Why can’t we say ‘made in the Gambia’? So that people can know Gambia can do it through its own way.”
Bakary Sanyang, from Shelter for Life Project said their six month project is aimed at providing working material for farmers. He said: “If cashew marketting is going through the right way, it has to be something which all of us would benefit from.”
Sanyang explained “our farmers have no money to buy those working tools. The project will provide all those tools to the farmers.”