Friday, September 22

Suwareh refutes Agriculture Minister’s statement on prices of fertilizer

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By: Nyima Sillah

The Second Vice President of the United Democratic Party Youth Wing, Hagi Suwareh, has on Thursday refuted the statement made by the Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Demba Sabally that “the price of fertilizer is cheaper in The Gambia than the whole sub-region.”

In an interview with The Voice, Hagie disagreed with the statement of the Minister, saying it is false and misleading and that the ministry should subsidize fertilizer for farmers throughout the year. Including giving fertilizers to vegetable gardeners and other farming inputs, rather than blaming the Russia–Ukraine war for the increase of fertilizer, which was procured in 2021.

On Suwareh’s grounds, he further stated that the various prices for fertilizer in Senegal were cost at 4,000 CFA, equivalent to D 1,840, and 3,000 CFA equivalent to D 1,380 and 25,000 CFA as D 1,150.

“It is worrying as Rainy season started almost a month now, yet farmers are struggling to afford a bag of fertilizer, to use on their crops for a promising bumper harvest,” he complained.

Furthermore, he claimed that under the current Barrow’s leadership, the agricultural sector continues to underperform and sometimes faces massive corruption in fertilizer distribution which includes the recent deceptive statement by the government.

He noted that the price of fertilizer this year has tripled from last year’s price from D700 to D2, 000. “This will be a serious disaster to the country’s food production,” he said

However, he challenged the Gambia Government to take agriculture seriously and reconsider its first action, stating that “I am appealing to the Gov’t of Adama Barrow to do everything they can to maintain last year’s price, if not, make it more affordable for poor farmers to afford.”

Suwareh called the Government to realize that for the high prices of commodities to go down, the country must heavily invest across the chain of agricultural production to improve productivity which requires the government to start committing to the Maputo 2002 agreement and consider allocating 10% of the budget to agriculture and ensure access to finance and markets is easier and affordable.