By Lamin Fatty
Secco (buying point) presidents decried the low sales of groundnut at their seccos.
This reporter went round seccos in all the districts of URR to assess the ongoing trade in groundnut.
At Jah kunda buying point, the Secco manager and President said they have received cash but are not getting groundnuts from the farmers, due to the rampant middlemen (‘banabanas’) within communities, forcing them to travel with their scale from their buying point in Jah kunda, to Nyakoi Taibatou, to get groundnuts.
“Instead of sitting at the Secco the whole day without getting groundnuts, we roam with the scale to Taibatou in Nyakoi, in order to access farmers and their nuts, because there is only one Secco in Wuli West and it situated here in Jah kunda,” Duguneh Fofana, the Secco president of Baja Kunda told this reporter. He said farmers do not bother themselves to transport their groundnuts at Seccos but rather they comfortably wait for the ‘banabanas’ (‘middlemen’) who buy their groundnuts for D2,000 cash per bag, without even weighing it, ” they said.
Fofana who is also the president of URR Secco Association said the arrival of the middlemen in the groundnuts trade arena this year, is caused by the National Food Security Processing and Marketing Corporation (formerly GGC) because they issued them with licences.
“Since the beginning of the trade season, I have contacted the managing director and the marketing manager of GGC about the threat of the middlemen this year, but nothing has been done about it,” Fofana said.
Alfusainey Darboe, the Secco President of Briffu village in Wulli East said this year’s trade season is close to failure, as far as his buying point is concerned.
According to him, from the 11th to 27th of December 2022, he could only purchase 17 tons of groundnuts which can be compared to a day’s purchase in previous years.
“As I am talking to you now, two groups of middlemen are in this particular community and even intercepted those who intended to bring their groundnuts to our Secco, and there is nothing we can do to prevent them, because they have been issued licence to buy groundnuts,” he told this reporter. He said farmers are not pleased also with the government regarding the issue of fertilizer because government refused to give credit to farmers which can be paid later, is happening to farmers in Senegal.
Demba Dem, the Secco president of Dasilameh in Sandu district and Ba Jankang Jagana, the vice president of Bakadagi Secco in Jimara, both expressed similar remarks and blamed the GGC for lack of groundnuts.
There are only two out of thirteen Seccos across the URR, where groundnut buying is going on as normal, and where farmers queue to sell their ground nuts.
This reporter made frantic efforts to talk to the management of the GGC to get their side of the story regarding their alleged link to the middlemen, to no avail. We will redouble our effort in this regard.