By Ansumana Touray / Lamin Fatty
One week has gone into the groundnut trade season in the Gambia and some ‘Seccos’ in Sami and other Districts in the Central River Region (CRR) North, are yet to buy any groundnuts from the farmers.
This reporter visited the ‘Seccos’ of Karantaba Wollof, Pachonki and Demfaye in CCR North on Thursday December 19th 2019, to sound the opinions of both ‘Secco’ managers and farmers on the reasons why they are not buying or selling their nuts at the ‘Seccos’ in the country.
Mustapha Cham, the ‘Secco’ Manager at Karantaba Wollof said though his ‘Secco’ has been supplied with enough money to buy groundnuts this year, farmers are yet to bring their produce to his ‘Secco’.
At Demfaye, the Secco president told this reporter that his Secco was supplied with enough money to buy groundnuts this yea; but that no buying of groundnuts is taking place at their ‘Secco’.
“Our ‘Secco’ is still not cleared of grass and the fence that should house the purchased nuts is yet to be built. That is why groundnut buying has not started here at the Demfaye Secco,” he said.
At the Pachonki Secco, it was also confirmed by this reporter that adequate money to buy farmers groundnuts was supplied, but no buying of groundnuts has taken place.
However, farmers who spoke to these reporters in the communities visited, said they are selling their groundnuts to middle men at a much better price than what obtains in the country’s ‘Seccos’. Farmers indicate that they will not sell a bag of groundnuts at a cutthroat price of less than D1, 300 when middlemen are offering them D1, 500 or more, per bag.
One farmer from Karantaba said they will not see a better offer for their nuts and sell somewhere else where they will lose; that middlemen buy their groundnuts for a good price. He indicated that the middlemen buy their nuts from them as it has come from the farms without winnowing the products to get the sand, dust and stones from it.
Most farmers in upper river region prefer selling their groundnuts to intermediaries from Senegal to the seccos (GGC buying points)
Speaking to this reporter, farmers in Bagadagi Jimara district say government started buying groundnuts at their seccos last week but this may not continue due to the low price at which it is bought.
The farmers say GGC started buying groundnuts last week but they don’t think this can continue unless GGC increase the price. They say at the seccos after weighing, a bag of groundnut is sold for D1200 or D1100 depending on the weight of groundnuts. Compared to the price at the lumos or from the intermediaries a bag of groundnuts is sold for D1400 to D1500 without weighing it.
The farmers hope that government will buy their groundnuts for D20 per kilo or D20,000 per tonne at the seccos. Until then they prefer to wait for intermediaries or take their groundnuts to lumos.
Information has it that some Chinese businesspersons are buying a tonne of groundnuts for D22,000; that Senegalese intermediaries who come to the Gambia to buy groundnuts, also buy from farmers in Senegal and resell to these Chinese business persons who stationed in Senegal.