By Lamin Fatty
Groundnut farmers in the Upper River Region (URR) have expressed their disappointment with the government at this year’s groundnuts trade season.
Some desperate farmers who spoke to Foroyaa and expressed their disappointment with the government over the way this year’s trade season is ongoing.
Musa Jaiteh from Taifa in the Sandou district told Foroyaa that he is very much disappointed at the frequent cash shortage.
“It is over three weeks now since I took my groundnuts to the Diabugu secco for sale and still now I cannot get my money while I have very urgent matters to settle. In fact that was why I rushed to secco but now I am regretting,” Jaiteh said.
Musa Jaiteh indicated that last week that particular secco was supplied with cash of D500,000, but that was extremely small compared to the amount purchased on credit. He was among a good number of farmers who could not get their money and since then they have been closely monitoring that secco to know when money will be available but to no avail.
“This is very disappointing and discouraging on the part of the government,” Musa Jaiteh told Foroyaa with a grim face stricken with hopelessness.
When this reporter put these claims to Tara Bah, Diabugu secco president he confirmed them.
“All these are true, because two weeks this secco was without cash. It was only last week that we received only D500,000 which was extremely small to settle farmers compared to the amount we purchased on credit,” Diabugu secco president told Foroyaa.
Tara added that still a good number of farmers left unsettled. He said they hope to receive cash any time as promised by GGC and AGIB authorities.
Gidda Sowe, an old man, told this reporter at the Diabugu secco that the whole issue is discouraging and disappointing.
“According to government, last year there was abundant cash available but we could not get the required tonnage of groundnuts and blamed farmers for refusing to sell groundnuts at the seccos and selling to middle men. This year government banned middle men while groundnuts of high quality are abundant, resulting to frequent cash shortage,” Gidda Sowe narrated.
Demba Dem who is secco president for Dasilameh buying point told Foroyaa that the scenario is the same as his secco. He disclosed that now farmers in fact have stopped bringing their nuts to his secco at Dasilameh due to cash shortages.
Sorry Balisa from Kundam Mafatty in the Tumanna district told Foroyaa that this year Gambian farmers are in limbo, particularly for groundnuts. By blocking other buyers from the market, it has become evident that government cannot do it alone.
“It is about a month now since I sold eleven bags of groundnuts to the government buying point (secco) in Kundam on credit and still I cannot get my money which is so discouraging and disappointing,” Sorry Balisa told foroyaa.
He emphasized that it is categorically becoming clear that government through GGC cannot single-handedly purchase all the groundnuts meant for sale from Gambian farmers this year.
Moriba Camara from Bantunding in the Wulli East district expressed similar sentiments, describing this year’s trade season as exposing government’s inability to purchase farmers’ groundnuts which is very disappointing.
For the information of the readership the government announced the price and the commencement of this year’s trade season in November 2023, whereby the government also assured that the cash would be always available at all buying points at any time and that there would be no credit buying.
Government also announced the ban of middle men buying and exporting the nuts of farmers without licence.
According to the president of the Republic Adama Barrow, it would not be fair for farmers after all the struggles in the rainy season to sell those farm products on credit. The reality however is that they are now selling them on credit.