21 January 2014

Gambia: Trade Season in Focus


The 2013/14 trade season officially began in December with farmers rushing to the various selling points (depots) to sell their groundnut. They have no doubt realised an increment on the farm gate price per metric ton as compared to that of last year.

What seems to delight the farmers is that the government has decided to increase the price from the previously announced D14, 500 to D15, 250 as producer price per ton this year. This decision goes to show how sensitive the government is to the farming community. It gives hope that this groundnut season will be enterprising, and that farmers will enjoy the fruits of their labour. This is obvious because the engagement of the GGC in the trade, which has always been exceptional even during previous trade seasons, speaks volumes of the state's recognition that agriculture is the core of the economy. And as such, it should be given maximum priority.

In fact, the move by the government is based on the realisation that agriculture is the core of any sustainable national economy. It is the perfect channel to food self-sufficiency. Whilst it is strategic for a national economy to diversify, it is equally significant for it to put more weight on the agriculture sector, which is the foundation upon which all other developments are built.

Shortly before the start of the planting operations, we have seen the Ministry of Agriculture teaming up with international partners in providing farming incentives, such as fertilisers to farmers. This indicates that the government did not sit by to see this year's farming season come and pass in vain. It is obvious as a result of the high level of preparedness on the part of the government that our farming community is set to rejoice over the prospects of a bumper harvest with the country's sole groundnut dealer.

Reports emanating from GGC expressing their level of preparedness to purchase groundnut, therefore, illuminates the fact that the authorities tasked with the responsibility of administering our groundnut marketing are adjusting themselves to ensure the success of the season.

We should therefore all join hands to support the accomplishment of our agricultural endeavours. Remember the country is dependent on agriculture and groundnut contributes greatly to The Gambia's foreign exchange earnings.

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