By Yankuba Jallow
Honourable Suwaibou Touray, the National Assembly Member for Wuli East has called on the government to rebuild the seed stores in the country.
Touray mentioned this before the National Assembly on Thursday the 27 December 2018 whilst making his contribution during the adjournment debate. Here is his full contribution:
The groundnut marketing, Madam Speaker the information we get is that cash shortage is becoming a problem at the SECCOs. As I said here before, we are investing a lot of resources into agriculture; into groundnut production. We have subsidized fertilizer for the farmers last season. So if we don’t take a critical look at how we do our marketing, the timing of the marketing, the cash flow during marketing, the possibility of a lot of our nuts escaping through the border to Senegal will become a hindrance to the attainment of foreign exchange that we want to get from the trade. It is one thing to capacitize people to produce something but if it is not marketed through the right channel, we will not accrue the benefits that we are supposed to accrue.
Honourable Speaker, in agriculture again, the seed stores that we have, I don’t know of any other place but in Wuli, some of them were built since the colonial days and the first Republic also built some seed stores but they have all dilapidated. So those seed stores are dilapidated and I am urging the Ministry of Agriculture to rebuild those seed stores. In those days, the stores were beneficial to students because, during holidays, students are paid to do the storing.
Honourable Speaker, the cost of the national identity card, unfortunately, the issue of the ID card especially the cost did not come to this National Assembly. The outcry is loud and clear, people are saying the cost of the ID card is beyond their means. Some of them said they have to take ID cards for their whole families. The ID card is a human rights issue everybody is entitled to have an ID card when you are 18 and above. The ID card is linked to livelihood because it is used at the banks, police stations and many other places. I want to suggest to the Ministry of the Interior to revisit or if possible, to reduce the price of the ID card because everyone is saying it is above their means.
Honourable Speaker, the Senegalese soldiers are intercepting Gambians who have legitimate documents to carry out timber business. I have followed the issue with the Ministry of the Environment and also the Department of Forestry to inquire about the whole issue. People with legitimate documents from their community forest, from the Department of Forestry, some of them even take loans to carry out the timber business, despite all those papers, their timber will be intercepted at Bwiam and they will be forced to go and dump it at Kanilai and they will not be able to identify their timber after that. Nothing is said about this and these people are not taken to court. I think if that is an agreement it needs to be looked at. We cannot accept young people getting into something and their investment is going to be drained. So, I urge the government to work with their counterparts to revisit the agreement if there is an agreement about that so that the issue of controlling timber in our territory will be left entirely to our Gambian security personnel.