By Lamin Fatty
Seccos or groundnut buying points in the Upper River Region have closed, due to lack of groundnuts.
December 1st to 31st March was given as the period for the trade season for groundnut farmers across the Gambia. However, this year’s (2022/2023) trade season become dire for the GGC in URR because of the lack of nuts due to invading ‘Banabanas’ (middle men).
This reporter went round most buying points across both banks of the region and found all the Seccos closed.
Alfusainey Darboe the Secco president for Brifu; Duguneh Fofana of Baja kunda Secco; Baka Kebbeh for Jah kunda and Demba Dem of Dasilameh Secco, all described this year’s groundnut trade season as a complete failure, when compared to last year.
According them, the total purchase for either of their Seccos is less than 100, tons as compared to the tonnage of over 300 to 500 tons purchased by each of them last year.
Demba Dem, the Secco president of Dasilameh said they have closed because they can not continue sitting empty handed when no groundnut was coming to their Secco, at a time when they must pay their watchmen at the end of every month.
“I can confirm that all the the seccos across the URR have seized operations due to lack of groundnuts except the three buying points of Suduwol, Kundam and Dingiri,” Dugunneh Fofana, the president of the URR Secco Presidents Union said.
The situation seems to remain the same acros the region because of the invading ‘Banabanas’ who now buy a bag of groundnuts from D2,400 to D2,500.
When asked about the number of tons he purchased this year when compared to last year, Duguneh Fofana, said even though he purchased the highest amount of groundnuts across the region, he was able to purchase only 480 tons.
When this reporter contacted the Managing Director of GGC Mohammed Njie for comments on the seizure of operations by GGC buying points in URR, he replied that as far as they (GGC) were concerned, March 31st is the official closing date for the groundnut trade season in the Gambia.
“I do not know why they close because we did not ask any Secco to do so,” Njie told this reporter.