By Kebba Secka
Authorities at the Njau Secco in CRR North have confirmed to this reporter that daily insufficient cash disbursements, is hindering the buying of groundnuts at their Secco. The Secco authorities said a limited amount of about one hundred thousand dalasi is usually given to them each day for onward payment to farmers who bring their nuts at the Secco.
When enquiries were made by this reporter, he was told by the Secco authorities that the amount given to them for that particular day, was exhausted and they will only get money for continuation of payment to farmers, the next day.
Farmers who brought in their groundnuts after the money was finished, were seen heaping their produce within the Secco’s premises for the next day. During this period, the Secco Manager and Qmoney officers present did nothing, because of the unavailability of money. However, one Secco authority said they can buy tons of groundnuts in a day, if adequate money was given to them.
Another authority of the Secco said more than one million dalasi worth of groundnuts was bought in less than a week and anticipates that a successful trade season will be realized this year because of the nuts that is forthcoming from farmers within the area.
According to the Secco authorities, Government’s adjustment of the groundnuts price has affected middlemen who earlier dominated the weekly markets within the locality, because of the low price earlier announced; that most farmers appreciated the new and adjusted price, but dislike the slow process of cash payments to them.
A major concern raised by farmers is the early disbursement of fertilizer to the farming community. They said this will enable them buy the quantity they want for their next farming season.
However, on examining the cause of the ineffectiveness of the Qmoney Service, the Secco authorities opined that the one day training given to officers who facilitate the payment of cash at Seccos, was insufficient; that they could have been better trained in order to be more qualified in speeding up the payment process. He appealed to the concern authorities to adequately sensitize farmers on their partnership with Qmoney and Agib Bank, so that they can better understand the value attached to these services; that initially, is was difficult to convince farmers on the need to present their National Identity documents, because it was new and they were not enlightened enough about this.
The Secco authorities said farmers no longer sell their nuts across the border since the adjustment of the groundnut price by Government; that instead it is farmers from Senegal who live across the Gambian border, who bring in their nuts into the country because of the newly adjusted price, which is better than what obtains in Senegal; that Senegal buys at the same equivalent amount of twenty one thousand dalasi and that middlemen along the border, buy between twenty three and twenty four thousand dalasi (D23, 000 – D24, 000), which leave no difference in prices with the one set by Government. This he said has encouraged Gambian farmers to sell their produce in their own country.
Fatou Ceesay who was found winnowing groundnuts on their farm, said she and her husband cultivated hectares of groundnuts and this year’s season has been successful for them.
Asked by this reporter whether they will sell their groundnuts in the country, she answered that they will not sell their nuts early because the Chinese in Senegal have not started buying; that they will keep their groundnuts until the Chinese in Senegal start buying and compare and choose the best price for them.