By: Kebba AF Touray / Hatab Nyang
President Adama Barrow has announced that the price for a ton of groundnut during the 2023 groundnut trade season is thirty two thousand Dalasi (D32,000).
President Barrow made the announcement during his ongoing meet with the people tour at Ndunku Kebbeh in North Bank Region of the Gambia on Monday 21st November 2022.
“Last year, a ton of groundnut was sold at D28,000 but this has been increased by four thousand dalasi this year, to D32,000 per ton. I therefore appeal to the Gambian farmers to sell their groundnuts to the government,” President Barrow announced.
“I learnt that some farmers sell their nuts to private buyers from foreign countries. We have to help one and other because those private buyers will not provide farmers with fertilizer. Therefore now, whoever sells groundnut to the government, we will write their names and when the time come for fertilizer distribution, we will give fertilizer to only those farmers who have sold their groundnut to the government
He further said that the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted global crises which resulted in the closure of airports and places of worship and business entities across the world; that this has negatively impacted global economies, resulting to loss of huge chunks of revenue and economic hardship for everyone, including the Gambia.
For this hardship to be overcome, president Barrow said there is need for collective and concerted efforts to tackle and overcome it, and said he is traveling on this path in order to address the hardships that the world including the Gambia, is confronted with.
“Everyone is crying because of the high cost of rice, and that is true. But this is caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” the president said. That currently, countries that produce rice, have closed their gates and are not willing to sell rice to the foreign countries, due to the global crises.
“My government has been trying and making efforts to import rice from India for two months now, but we are yet to register any success in that respect. This is all part of the plan of my government to ensure that we import rice into the country, which will be affordable for Gambians in the face of the global crises,” president Barrow told the people of Ndungu Kebbeh.
President Barrow also said his government has also intervened in the importation of oil into the country, saying prior to importation of oil, the price of a 20-liter cooking oil, used to be over D2,000 but the imported one is now sold at D1,695; that all this is geared towards helping the citizenry.
He told the convergence that his government has also spent millions of Gambian dalasi to subsidize the price of fuel to make it affordable to the citizenry.
“The solution is for us to go back to the rice fields, cultivate and produce rice to attain food self-sufficiency. We have the plans and knowledge to do it, and government is ready to join hands and assist farmers to ensure that it materializes. This will require our collective efforts and contribution to make it a success,” he said.
Alkali Jatta, a veteran farmer and former President of the Gambia Farmer’s Platform, when contacted for comment on the statement of the president, acknowledged that there has been an increment in the price of a ton of groundnut this year.
“The price has increased from D28,000 to D32,000. This is a good effort but the price should have been increased to D40,000 per ton. This is because farmers sell their produce to either purchase inputs such as fertilizer, seed and implements, and the prices of all these inputs have been increased by over 100 percent,” he said.
He added that the farmers also sell their groundnut to buy rice, oil and other family needs, the prices of which has increased by 100 percent. He said since the prices of essential commodities have increased by 100 percent, then the price of groundnut should have attracted such an increment.
On the President’s comment that the government will sell fertilizer to only those who sell their groundnut to government, Jatta said this is an insult to farmers because it is unfair and discriminatory.
“This is discriminatory and an insult to farmers. When you sell fertilizer to only those who sell their nuts to the government, those who producE coos and other food crops should be considered as well because they are part and parcel of the Gambian farming community,” Jatta said.
Earlier, President Barrow visited the ongoing Niumi- Hakalang road project where the Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah, briefed him on the progress of work.
The tour continues today in Lower and Upper Badibu and IIliassa and Sabach Sanjal constituencies, with meetings in Gunjur and Farafenni respectively.
Foroyaa will continue to follow the president’s tour and his engagement with farmers across the country, and inform the readers accordingly.