By Lamin Fatty
Rural Gambians have voiced out their concerns amid the continuous surge of essential commodity prices in the country such as rice, sugar, cooking oil and onion, which forms a greater part of the predominantly consumed commodities by people in the country. This according to many consumers in rural Gambia especially the Upper River Region (URR), has increased a huge burden on the shoulders of many household heads.
This reporter visited the Sare Ngai weekly market and to ascertain the prices of these basic commodities from shops and found that the price for these commodities were as follows: 50 kilogram bag of American rice costs D1,850; another type of 60 kilogram red coloured bag of American rice costs D1,750. There was another type of rice found at these shops which is said to have been imported from Senegal and it costs D1,700; 50 kilogram bag of sugar costs D2,450; 25 kilogram bag of onion costs D1,300, while a bag of potatoes costs D1,250; a 20 litre gallon of cooking oil costs D2,000 while a 20 litre gallon of palm oil is D1,950; and a carton of eggs costs D3,800.
Seedy Touray, a customer and resident of Sare Ngai, said they are alarmed by the way the cost of living is rising in the Gambia.
“This country is now at a crossroads because there is no control in the prices of basic essential commodities and that is why their cost keeps escalating by the day,” Touray said.
Oumie Kebbeh, a business person who buys a bag of sugar to sell on retail in kilos and cups at the SareNgai weekly market, said she buys a bag of sugar for D2,450 and a bag of onion for D1,300 from the Mauritanian traders and sells it on retail at D55 per kilo for sugar, and D100 per kilo, for onion.
Mahamed Yaffa, a shop owner in Jah kunda, told this reporter that operating a business is becoming difficult for them considering the price of basic commodities.
“l buy a bag of American rice from Basse for D1,800 and transport it for D35 or D40, depending on the negotiation I make with the driver, and re-sell it for D1,850. Sugar in Basse costs D2,400 per bag and it is transported for D40 and sold for D2,450. Onions on wholesale in Basse costs D1,200 and when transported here, it goes it for D1,300,” Yaffa explained.
Kumuna Siddibeh, a shop owner in Sutukoba in the Wulli East District, said the prices of essential commodities vary in the region including their transportation costs. He said the price of rice has remained the same place for some time now, but that the price of sugar, cooking oil, onion and potatoes, have surged.