Thursday, September 21

Farmers urge GGC to pay more to fend off private dealers

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

By Maimuna Sey-Jawo

Farmers in Central River Region north have raised concern over the low price offered by the Gambia Government for this year’s groundnut season which starts this month. Government announced it will buy a ton for D20,700, an increase of 15 percent from last year.

However, speaking to The Standard on the phone, a number of farmers in CRR urged the government to offer a better price or risk losing groundnuts to private operators in Senegal. “Farming is difficult and labour intensive and farmers really deserve a decent pay for their hard labour. At the moment, selling our groundnuts to the local buyers is more profitable and involved less hassle or labour, because the buyers normally meet us in our homes to load and buy our products at a very good price which cannot be compared to the government’s price. Again, the private buyers come with their own bags whereas we must provide our own bags to sell our nuts to GGC. All these make it a lot more profitable for us to sell to the private buyers,” one farmer stated.

The GGC has introduced a new system whereby all farmers would be paid by AGIB cashiers at the various seccos instead of the usual secco managers. The GGC said this will ensure transparency. The Corporation also warned any illegal buyers, saying that all interested buyers must fulfill standard criteria to be a registered private buyer. However, many observers have said it will be hard to police the groundnut trade around Gambia’s porous borders from illegal groundnut buying, especially when the sellers are willing participants.