Gambia: Farafenni Secco Still Owe Farmers

Farmers in Farafenni and the surrounding communities who took their groundnuts to the Farafenni Cooperative Primary Marketing Society (Secco), complained to Foroyaa that they are yet to receive their money.

The farmers who spoke to this reporter in Illiassa District of the North Bank Region, lamented that they tried several attempts to get their money from the 'Secco', but to no avail.

They told this reporter that it is from the proceeds of their groundnuts that they will buy seeds, fertilizer, farm implements and as well as upkeep their families.

According to Biggie Njie, the Farafenni Secco owes him D20, 000; that he tried on several occasions to get his money, but to no avail.

Ismaila Bah a farmer in Dutabulu in the Illiassa District, told this reporter that he took five donkey loads or 10bags of groundnuts to the 'Secco' in Farafenni, but is yet to receive his money even though he approached the 'Secco' Secretary on several occasions.

Alieu Bah and Samba Jallow said Government should help them get their money.

Ello Colley of Samba Taba said the poor marketing arrangement of the major cash crop of the country is the key factor leading to its decline in production. He called on Government to create a cooperative that will assist the farmers with inputs and implements and to properly finance the marketing of the crop after harvest; that any talk of helping the farmers without this undertaking will be mere lip service to farmers.

The 'Secco' Manager in Farafenni confirmed that they still owe some farmers but was quick to add that the 'Secco' president is working tirelessly to solve the problem.,

If readers can recall, a press release was issued by the office of the Government spokesperson which indicates among others that following the President's intervention to fix the matter, the National Food Security Corporation (formerly GGC) will receive D396 million through the Central Bank of The Gambia for the immediate purchase of groundnuts from farmers; that this money is sufficient to cover all outstanding payments and buy the rest of the nuts waiting in queues in local 'Seccos' across the countryside. The release concluded that the projected tonnage to be purchased this year is 35,000 metric tons.

The question now arises: "Why are these farmers yet to receive their monies." Foroyaa will approach the Ministry for answers.

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