Former Interior minister and leader of the GMC has urged the government to prepare for the groundnut season to avoid circumstances where farmers will be forced to wait for their monies.
“The Ministry of Agriculture with its relevant institutions should affect proper plans in place by now so as to reward Gambian farmers for their hard work. After toiling for months with hard labour, the price usually offered for their produce is low. Consequently, many farmers prefer to sell their produce across the border in Senegal. This is unacceptable,” he told The Standard yesterday.
The agricultural sector is the most important sector of the Gambian economy, contributing 32% of the gross domestic product, providing employment and income for 80% of the population, and accounting for 70% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
But over the years, Gambian farmers have experienced serious challenges with the purchase of their produce.
“The State should be fair to our farmers. We encourage people to adopt farming, and then reward their hard work with an unattractive producer price that compels them to look up to Senegal to sell their produce. Each year, big promises are made to farmers, and each year those promises are broken,” Fatty said.
The former presidential adviser said the State should not wait until the trade season dawns on them, and they start making plans.
“If we are serious about agriculture, we must protect the interests of the farming country. Agricultural transformation is all about farmers. Agro business is all about farmers. Poverty alleviation is about farmers since the majority of the poor are rural farmers. If we are serious about transforming agriculture, we should really look at the welfare of the farming community,” he argued.