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Farmers demand better groundnut price

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By Oumie Mendy just returning from Jenoi

Gambian farmers have challenged the government to significantly raise the prices of groundnut to D80 per kilogram to help them recover from the excess spending on fertiliser.

The farmers made the demand during the GGC annual stakeholder consultation on the 2022-2023 groundnut trade season held at the Agriculture Center in Jenoi and attended by the agriculture minister and senior staff of the ministry.

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Last year, government paid D24, 000 for a ton.

Farmers said they need a significant improvement or else they will run into serious losses due to the high price of fertilizer.

The GGC has assured them that they will discuss the demand with the minister of agriculture who will take the matter to the president and the final decision will be communicated.

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The GGC also assured farmers that there will be enough money this year to buy all their groundnuts.

Addressing the farmers, the Minister of Agriculture reiterated the need for Gambians to attach utmost importance to agriculture if the country is to achieve its first goal of halving hunger and poverty.

Minister Demba Sabally added that agriculture is the bedrock of the country’s economy and the population should commit to sustaining it.

“The National Development Plan (NDP) sets specific targets for agriculture, which is to boost production and productivity, as well as to eradicate poverty. It is only agriculture that can do that in this country,” he said.

He stated that agriculture is a critical pillar in the country’s drive for food security, hence, by extension the socio-economic development of the country.

“It is thus imperative for me and the Gambian farmer, to come to a round table and discuss a roadmap on the way forward for the nation’s agricultural sector,” he added.

Minister Sabally said the Barrow administration is committed to attaining these set targets through working closely with the Gambian farmers.

“The recent global crisis has raised the bar for the importers of agriculture in any country and this will improve socio-economic development. I would therefore urge farmers and all the stakeholders to use agriculture as a driver for change because it is the only change that is sustainable,” he stated.

He challenged that the nation use agriculture to grow the country’s economy and create jobs for the youth folks of the country.

“We must not be comfortable to remain as small-scale farmers. We should dream big and aspire to achieve those dreams. As a nation, we must produce bigger and better products by adapting to smart technology. We must be mechanized,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the stakeholders’ consultation forum will create the opportunity for them to hear from the farmers especially on the challenges faced.

In a statement read on his behalf by one Kebba Darboe, the Governor of Lower River Region, challenged youth to venture and take agriculture seriously. The GGC chairperson Board of Directors, Falolo Touray said: “The GGC went through a lot of challenges in the recent past, and it is reasonable to think or even assume that all these challenges can be addressed instantly. However, much has been achieved, although through government and stakeholders institutional and technical reforms to improve efficiency and effectiveness in building an institution that will address our collective needs and aspirations.”   

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