The unofficial farm gate price of groundnut has reached a figure of D1000 Dalasis per bag of groundnut this year as the groundnut commodity is in high demand both for the domestic consumers as well as for exporters.
According to Mr. Lamin Fanda Touray, who is working at a buying point at Sutukoba, the Secco has stopped receiving nuts since last month because he said farmers are selling their nuts to private buyers instead.
Asked how much money the private buyers are offering; Touray said private buyers initially offered 800 dalasis per bag at a time when the Secco was offering D750 dalasis per bag. He added that the private buyers increased their price to D850 and the Secco also increased price to D800. He said later the private buyers again increased their price to D900 per bag but the Secco could not increase their price.
Asked if these private buyers are individuals or a company, Lamin said they are individuals who buy from the farmers but they in turn take their nuts to one individual based at Jaka Madina who buys from them at a higher price than they bought it.
This reporter spoke to Mr.Mori Jabbi of Sutukoba who said he is one of the middle persons directly purchasing nuts from the farmers and selling it to another bigger private buyer. He said at the moment, the private buyer based at Jaka Madina in the Wuli West is offering D1050 and they are buying from the farmers at D1000 per bag and transporting it to Jaka Madina at D25 per bag. He calculated and said they are getting a profit of D25 Dalasis a bag.
Asked whether the farmers are happy about this price, Mr.Jabbi said farmers are very happy that the price has increased and this is why he said they are selling their nuts to them. He also takes the opportunity to thank the private buyers who have come with a better price.
Asked what the private buyer at Jaka Madina is doing with the nuts he is purchasing, Mr. Jabbi said he knows that the groundnut is being decorticated and bagged. He said he is not sure whether the buyer is exporting it to Europe or to the Senegal.
This reporter visited the other parts of Wuli and discovered that private buyers are busy offering a price of D1000 per bag of nuts and almost all the Seccos are presently out of business.Private buyers have been seen loading nuts at Foday Kunda and heading to Senegal border and residents say the price offered to them has now reached D1000 Dalasis per bag.
Mr. Jagne, a farmer from Wuli Foday Kunda was asked to express his opinion on this year's buying season, he said: " It is something we should all think about because it does not look like a good sign for the GGC and the seccos because registered buyers are not operational because they are offering less than the private operators", He said. He questioned why the GGC could not compete favourably with the private buyers and save the company and the cooperative societies.
Mr. Jagne also informs this reporter that the price of rice has exceeded D1000 Dalasis and wondered how a farmer who is receiving income only once a year can sustain a family through such frequent price increases.
A farmer from Mureh Kunda, Mr. Danso also expressed the opinion that Senegal might benefit more foreign exchange from Gambian groundnuts than Gambia itself because he said a lot of nuts are heading to Senegal.
15 bags of groundnut would weigh more than 1 metric tonne and so if 1 bag is sold at D1000, it means farmers are receiving nothing less than 15,000 Dalasis for a metric tonne of groundnuts from the private buyers at this present moment, which they say is good for them considering that other basic commodities like rice and cooking oil are skyrocketing in price almost on a weekly basis.
It could be recalled that the Agribusiness Services & Producers' Association (ASPA), which is the Inter- professional body vested with the Management of the Gambia Groundnut Sub-sector, has in a Press release, pegged the farm-gate Groundnut Producer Price of D1O,450 (ten thousand four hundred and fifty Dalasi per metric tonne for the 2012/13 Groundnut Marketing Season. ASPA in consultation with the Government of the Gambia had also declared Monday 3rd December 2012 as the official start date for this year's groundnut-marketing season and the closure of the season to be 15th March 2013, the release said.
According to ASPA, in consultation with Government, this year's producer price was arrived at using the officially recognised Producer Price Determination Mechanism, which takes into account the World Market Prices for Groundnut Products as well as parameters and ratios relevant to the domestic marketing system.
The Government of the Gambia should review its producer price determination mechanism. It falls far short of the expectation of the stakeholders in the domestic marketing system for groundnuts.