SoNA[1]: Government Allocated D1.5 Billion to Purchase Groundnut


By: Kebba AF Touray

[As from this edition, Foroyaa will serialize the content of the State of the Nation address of the President on 27th June, 2024. – Editor]

In his State of the Nation Address (SoNA), Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has said his government allocated D1.5 billion to purchase groundnut in the 2023 / 2024 season.

President Barrow said this on Thursday, 27 June 2024 at the National Assembly while delivering his 2024 State of Nation Address (SoNA 2024) to Gambians.

“In the 2023/24 season, my Government allocated one billion, five hundred million Dalasi (GMD1.5 Billion), for the purchase of groundnuts, acquiring about thirty-six thousand, six hundred and fifty-nine (36,659) metric tons,” President Barrow said; marking a significant increase over the ten thousand (10,000) metric tons purchased in the previous season. 

He explained that agriculture and the country’s natural resources are crucially important feeders of the nation’s economy, noting that as one of the productive sectors, agriculture in the country did not perform badly in the 2023 season. He said the sector benefited from a favorable weather condition and timely Government intervention such as the provision of free ploughing services, free seed and heavily subsidized fertilizer for farmers. 

Consequently, he said cereal production increased by 21%, rice by 27%, maize – 25%, millet – 14% and sorghum – 17%. He said cash crops such as groundnuts also increased by 12%, cowpeas – 26%, findo – 9%, and sesame – 6%. 

“In all last year, agriculture contributed 24.4% to the country’s GDP, which indicates a slight decrease from 25.7% in 2022, translating into a decrease of 0.2 percentage points,” the President said. He said looking ahead to the 2024/2025 cropping season, Government plans to bring five thousand (5,000) hectares under rice cultivation, a target that could rise substantially if ten (10) registered commercial farmers in the scheme commence cultivation. 

“In support of the national food security drive, Government will procure one hundred and eighty (180) tractors and twenty (20) rotorvator boats for year-round deployment,” President Barrow told Lawmakers. Additionally, he said they will enhance rice processing within the country’s irrigated hubs through integrated equipment and training and expanding irrigation facilities. He said this year, Government will distribute rice, groundnut, maize and bean seeds to farmers to help them boost production, and said there is already enough fertilizer in the country, that will be sold to the farmers at a subsidized price at different locations across the country.

To improve financial inclusivity, President Barrow said they plan to extend matching grant funds to micro-finance institutions that operate close to the communities at the grassroots level. 

“We also plan to integrate modern technologies, like ICT for internet banking and mobile phones into the farming communities and to establish at least five agricultural insurance schemes to mitigate risks in agricultural lending,” he said, and said these schemes will be managed through public-private partnerships. That among many other interventions, the Gambia Agricultural Transformation Program which seeks to bolster food and nutrition security through sustainable management of the country’s natural resources, will strengthen both the public and private sectors across the agricultural value chain.