Friday, March 31

MoTIE Minister tours Farafenni Lumo

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By Yunus S Saliu

As part of his itinerary on the ongoing tour, the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Employment (MoTIE) on Sunday, 6th February 2023 visited the Farafenni Lumo (weekly village market), one of the largest lumos in the North Bank Region, to interact with some of the vendors and buyers patronizing the market to know their constraints and needs to enable his ministry proffer solutions where necessary.

Minister Bubacarr Ousmaila Joof who was accompanied by a large delegation from all institutions under his purview and other relevant stakeholders took time in the early hours of the day to explore the market to know how it operates, as people come from different communities and across the borders to do the business transaction in the Farafenni weekly market.

Talking to the members of the press who accompanied him on the tour, shortly after the exploration of the nook and crannies of the lumo with full interactions with the vendors, he commented on the unsanitary conditions of all the lumos across the country as they are the same in operations and patterns.

On the hygienic condition, “Looking at it all these (items) are laying on the ground it is showing levels of unsanitary conditions of these lumos. These are things that I want us to formalize as a Ministry to work with partners and engage the governors and relevant agencies to make changes to some of these and other constraints in the markets. We are not only going to make changes in Farafenni but in all the lumos across the regions in the country to make them conducive, hygienic places to be and do business.” Minister Joof expressed.

Relaying from one of the vendors’ comments, he said “a woman who is a producer and as well a retailer explained that they produce for three to four months in The Gambia while in the rest of the months in a year, they will travel to Senegal to bring vegetables and retails them in the Gambia.”

The Minister said, “that’s one thing we need to look into as an industry ministry to see how we can increase their frequency to produce all year round what they need in the country rather than traveling to Senegal to pick anything and bring to the country.”

Working with the Ministry of Agriculture and NARI, he said, “they should be able to research and find the products and crops they can produce in the country throughout the year, and “I think that’s the way to go forward.”

Meanwhile, Minister Joof remarked on the homemade products positively while commenting on the former foundry at the GTTI which was there for years without producing needful things “rather we go out to buy something that is a foundry that the GTTI can do.”

“But now that we have USET (University of Science and Technology) I am seeing the skill development components of the university and this Ministry coming together to work on giving some of these vendors that have skill works necessary empowerment that they need. And also give them the necessary equipment to produce something that the country needs, not to avoid importing, but what can produce here in the country,” he explained.

The Minister advised Gambian women to continue to remain resilient and have the feeling of ownership, not dividing the gender he said “the women are doing very well in all the sections. We have been to the rice field, and banana fields name them, and count the number of stalls in the lumos the women has demonstrated that they understand trade business, they need to move goods across the border, and they want the movement across the border to be easy to enable them to grow their business transaction.”