By Lamin Fatty
Most groundnut buying points (seccos) in the Upper River Region continue to face cash shortages despite GGC recent announcement of the availability of additional sum of D500,000,000 to pay farmers.
Gambia Food Security Processing and Marketing Corporation (FSPMC) while meeting with secco presidents and managers on Saturday, 20 January 2024, announced the disbursement of D500 million from government to pay the debt owed to farmers and then to continue to purchase groundnuts.
During the weekend, seccos across Upper River Region received cash to pay farmers, from which some seccos settled their debts and commenced buying with cash but others could not clear their debts with the provided cash.
According to secco presidents in the region, it is now over a week that seccos are yet to receive another cash supply as farmers persistently bring groundnuts to the seccos every day.
Omar Drammeh, Kundam secco president in Tumanna District, told this medium that the cash supplied to his secco last week has cleared his debts but it is finished.
“Everyday farmers are bringing their nuts to this secco for sale but I do not accept them because there is no cash as I am yet to be supplied with cash,” said the Kundam secco president.
Ballang Mballow, who is the secco President at Dingiring in Tumanna, said his secco owes farmers that sold their groundnut on credit as they await additional cash supply. He said they have stopped credit buying even though farmers bring groundnuts everyday.
Baka Kebbeh, Jah kunda secco in Wulli West, said many farmers assembled their groundnuts at the buying point expecting to be weighed when cash is available, but said his secco is yet to be supplied with cash. According to kebbeh, some bags are getting spoilt due to heat.
Commenting on the concerns raised by farmers over the inadequate cash supply, Lamin Fofana, Business Development Manager at AGIB bank, said the bank has continued supplying cash to the buying points this week, to settle the debt on groundnut trade as well as pay for new deliveries.
“I can confirm that the buying points are being supplied with cash and some have already started paying from the new cash supply,” he said.
“Some buying points might not have been reached yet but they would receive their supply as soon as possible as the AGIB Bank continues to disburse additional cash to the seccos.”
Fofana added that the five hundred million dalasis disbursed is still not exhausted as the corporation continues to clear off the debt on the trade season and pay for groundnut with cash.