By Lamin Fatty
Farmers have described President Adama Barrow’s price of groundnut for this year’s trade season as shocking.
President Adama Barrow announced the price of groundnut in his ongoing nationwide tour also known as the meet-the-people tour, which commenced on Monday.
President Barrow said the price of a ton of groundnut is thirty-eight Thousand Dalasi (D38, 000) for the trade season, which will open in December. Last year, the price was thirty-two thousand Dalasi (D32, 000), according to President Barrow.
President Barrow also stated that the trade season for groundnuts will commence on 4 December 2023. He assured farmers of cash payments on the spot.
After the pronouncement by the head of state, Foroyaa sought the reaction of the farmers. They said the President’s announcement was shocking to them.
In early November 2023, Foroyaa engaged farmers on their expectations and the anticipated price for groundnut. The farmers want the price to be Forty Thousand Dalasi (D40, 000) or Forty-Three Thousand Dalasi (D43, 000) per ton. Some of them suggested the price to be Forty-Five Thousand Dalasi (D45,000) per ton.
The reporter contacted the regional president for Secco Presidents in URR, Douguneh Fofana, who said they were very much surprised about the price announced because they were never expecting this.
He said farmers are really surprised including all Secco Presidents in the region.
“Earlier this month, the Secco presidents, GGC stakeholders and others met in Jarra Genoi to discuss the coming trade season. Before we go to that meeting we did our consultation with farmers,” Fofana said.
He said at the meeting they proposed the price to be Fifty Dalasi (D50) per kilogram and Fifty Thousand Dalasi (D50,000) per ton.
“That is what we told them during the meeting. The management of GGC told us that they have to go and inform the government about it and promised to come back to us after consulting the Gambia Government. We were surprised to hear the President announce the price at Thirty-Eight Dalasi (D38) per kilogram,” Fofana said.
Most farmers the reporter spoke to in the Upper River Region stated that they were disappointed with the new price.
They said the Government should not impose the price on them, adding that it should have been consultative until an agreement is reached.
Some of the farmers said they want to sell their groundnuts to the Gambia Government, but with the price, if the middlemen offer a higher price they will sell to them.
The farmers said the price was not good and requested that it be increased. Some of the farmers who spoke to this reporter said selling their groundnuts at the “Seccos” or trade centres would be worthless. The reason they gave was that the Government agency responsible for purchasing groundnut, formerly Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) now called National Food Security Processing and Marketing Corporation (NFSPMC), purchases groundnut after winnowing and weighing. The weight determines the price. On the other hand, the middlemen and other local buyers would buy bags of groundnuts. To the farmers, it would be more profitable to sell to the middlemen than the Gambia Government.
A news report by RFI on 28 January 2021 revealed that the Gambia loses tons of groundnuts to Senegalese wholesalers. The report stated “In an effort to get the best price for their groundnuts, farmers in the Gambia are selling their product to Senegalese wholesalers who generally pay premium price, bypassing the lower rates offered by the Gambian government.”
This year, the farmers said they have made good harvest. Foroyaa is monitoring the situation and will keep the public informed about the developments in the trade season.