By Nelson Manneh
The price of Cashew nuts has drastically fallen down this year, due to the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Bikers who go round to buy cashew nuts at cashew farms for resell have stopped doing so.
The COVID19 pandemic which has affected businesses across the world, has done more damage to rural farmers who produce the crops, leaving them most vulnerable as people who live from hand to mouth.
To control the spread of the virus, the World Health Organization came up with preventive measures among which is to stay home and to be washing one’s hands with clean water and soap regularly.
The Government of the Gambia also came up with measures to make sure that the spread of the disease is controlled, by closing shops and suspending all operation of ‘Lumos’ and Schools.
The price of cashew nuts was more attractive last year and most farmers sold their nuts from D50 and above per kilo. However, farmers this year are selling their nuts at D35 per kilo or lower.
Peter Mendy a cashew farmer in Kiti village in the West Coast Region, said the global COVID 19 pandemic has affected the cashew business seriously this year; that most of them are worried about the market situation of their nuts and what may happen to them if they are not sold, because of the lack of storage facilities.
“I sold a bag of cashew nuts for D1,500 this year less than half of the amount I have been selling it for the past years. Last year, I sold a bag of cashew for D3,000 at this time of the year, and that was the minimum price I got,” he said; that cashew farming has never been easy for them and Government and business persons to come together and save cashew growers.
Naffie Gomez said she assists her parents at their cashew farm in a village in the West Coast Region; that the farm is their family’s only livelihood and her parents have been doing well and assisting everyone from their earnings at this farm. She however said this year, everything has slowed down compared to previous years.
Naffie said they are yet to sell a single kilo this year since the cashew got ripe, because the price is bad; that if the prices of the cashew nuts continue to go down, they will prefer staying at home than go to the farm without making money.
Alieu Jallow a biker said he has been in the cashew business for five years and rides his bike to cashew farms to buy nuts from them to sell to those who export the product.
Alieu said because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many bikers are not coming out. He said the price of cashew nuts also fluctuates but is optimistic that in the months to come, the price will increase.
He said the Coronavirus has affected businesses across the whole world and business persons are not keen in buying the product due to uncertainties of the future.