By Lamin Fatty
The farmers in the Upper River Region have demanded the Gambia Government to come up with a favourable price for groundnut as they expressed satisfaction over this season’s harvest.
Currently, the farmers are harvesting their groundnuts and they have rejoiced at the good harvest. However, they expressed doubt over whether the Government will come up with favourable prices.
Krubally Jimara, who was found in his farm harvesting groundnut, expressed delight over the good yield of this season.
“I have cultivated just a small portion. The groundnuts as you can see have matured,” he said.
Krubally said he has made a good harvest as he called on the government to endeavour, in consultation with the farmers, to come up with good price for groundnut to avoid farmers selling their nuts to middle men.
Krubally stated that he is expecting the government to buy a kilogram of groundnut for around forty dalasi (D40) equivalent to forty thousand dalasi (D40, 000) per ton.
“I am suggesting that government should buy groundnut between forty-three dalasi (D43) and forty-five dalasi (D45) per kilogram. With that price, the middle men cannot afford that or exceed that,” he suggested.
Sorry Balisa from Kundam Mafatty in Tumana District, who is a groundnut farmer, expressed hope for a very good harvest. He stated that the groundnut will be heavy in weight because they are matured enough and full. Balisa said the government has to come up with a good price.
Balisa said a ton of groundnut should cost between forty to forty-three thousand dalasi.
“It will be a motivation for farmers to sell more groundnuts to government,” Balisa said.
Balisa, like other farmers said the Gambia Government should do consultation with them to determine the price of groundnut. He said the Government should not be dictating the price to them.
“I want the government to buy our farm products with reasonable price,” he added.
This reporter also interviewed farmers in Sandu, Wulli West, Wuli East and Kantora Districts who expressed hope for a bumper harvest. The farmers said the reason for the good season is the consistency of the rainfall and the use of fertilizer.
The farmers also said other crops like millet, maize and coos (sorghum) all did well. They said by coming up with good price for their crops it means the Government is empowering them.
All the farmers said the price of a ton of groundnut should not go below forty thousand dalasi (D40,000). The Regional Agricultural Director of URR, John Mendy told foroyaa that the assessment of this year’s farming season is satisfactory regarding the performance in the region.
“In URR, groundnut, maize, early and late Millets, coos (sorghum) and rice are predominantly grown here. Through our assessment at the field, most farmers expressed satisfaction on the harvests for those aforementioned crops,” director Mendy said.
According to director Mendy, sometime in the raining season, there were some dry spells which affected some rice farmers especially those at the upper land area. However, he said the rice also has done well there.
He stated that the farmers who cultivated any of those aforementioned crops have good harvest. He said the contributing factors for this year’s bumper harvest are the consistency of the rainfall, the intervention of various projects that supplied farmers with seeds and among these projects are GIRAF, GAPSI, RVC etc, and also the abundant fertilizer made available to the doorstep of farmers with affordable price of D1150 per bag compared to last year with D2500 per bag.
Director Mendy advised farmers that after harvesting, they should select the best ones and store them for the coming season.
“Seed is the foundation of everything as far as cropping is concerned. If you plant good quality seeds, you expect good germination. We are advising farmers to carefully select the best ones and properly store them for the coming season,” he advised.
Meanwhile the reporter further proceeded to the Meteorological Station in Basse for the overview of rainfall pattern in the region for the 2023 rainy season in comparative of last year.
The branch officer for Basse meteorological station Momodou Sowe told Foroyaa that this year’s rainy season has seen frequent down pours than last year’s. He said the raining season this year was constant, but not heavy, which he said is very good for crops.
“That is why for this year, the farmers will have a good harvest than last year even though we received very high quantity of rain in last year’s raining season,” Sowe said.
Sowe gave the breakdown on the rainfall pattern from May to August in comparison to last year. He said in May 2022, the amount of rain received in URR was 56.4 millimeters (mm) while for May 2023 it was only 0.1 mm. He added that in June 2022, URR received 180 millimeters while for June 2023 it registered 133.3 millimeters. In July 2022 URR received 259.1 millimeters while for July 2023, it was 247.1 millimeters. For August 2022, URR received 366.6 millimeters and for August 2023, it was 138.9 millimeters.
He said the total amount of rainfall for May to August in 2022 was equivalent to 862.1 millimeters while the total amount of rainfall from May to August 2023 equivalent to 519.4 millimeters.