21 December 2012

Gambia: Parliamentarians Call for Groundnut Price Increase

During the adjournment debate session at the National Assembly onWednesday, 19 December 2012, the member for Jokadu called on the Agribusiness Services and Producers' Association (ASPA) to increasethe price of groundnuts to prevent the farmers from selling their nutsto the neighbouring countries.

"It is incumbent for (ASPA) and Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) inconsultation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs toreview the price of groundnut at a higher rate", said Hon. AmadouKhan, National Assembly Member for Jokadu.The Jokadu NAM calls for the increment of groundnut price beforelosing the market to the neighbouring countries that are offeringbetter prices.

He said he went round the 'lumos' in his constituencyand discovered that the ASPA agents are losing the markets. He arguedthat the way things are going in the groundnut subsector would affectthe economy."Many people are hoarding their groundnuts with the expectation ofselling the 250 kg bags for two thousand dalasi in the next months tocome", he disclosed.Hon. Khan complained that the farm gate price is not favourable tomost farmers in the country. He complained of inconsistencies in theprice of groundnuts as many buying agents are involved in thebusiness.

He cited agencies that are going to homes to buy groundnutswithout any form of screening."As mentioned in the 'Budget Speech, there was about 60 percent cropfailure last year. We should assume 60 percent of the farmers did nothave seed nuts for this year. Then, where is the bumper harvest?" heasked.The Jokadu NAM disagreed with the notion of bumper harvest as sixtypercent of the farmers did not get seed nuts. He called on theregulators of the groundnut subsector to review the price before itwould be late.However, Hon. FabakaryTombong Jatta, Majority Leader and Member forSerrekunda East also raised concern on the price of groundnut. He saidthe groundnut is the cash crop in the Gambian economy, adding that thegovernment has left the pricing of groundnuts to both ASPA and GGC forthe past years."As the member said, farmers must be consulted in determining theprice of the groundnut", he added.

Meanwhile, Hon. Ousman Njie, Member for Sami, called for more focus onirrigation and the livestock subsector. He stressed the need forinvestment on irrigation infrastructure to improve agriculturalproductivity particularly rice cultivation. He argued that livestockdevelopment is a good source of income for farmers."I enjoin all Gambians particularly farmers to rear small ruminants toboost market capacity for the supply of 'Tobaski' rams to reducereliance on foreign markets", he added.

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