By Omar Bah
The Ministry of Agriculture has issued a statement instructing the Inspector General of Police to arrest individuals found wanting in exporting groundnut without following due process.
Agriculture contributes about 33 percent of Gambia’s gross domestic product, of which groundnut is the highest contributor. Over the years, the country’s groundnut exports have been declining from 6,000 tons to less than 1000 tons worldwide, thus affecting the price of other commodities in the market. According to the Gambia Food Processing and Marketing Cooperation, this is as a result of farmers selling their groundnuts elsewhere. In an effort to get the best price for their groundnuts, farmers in the Gambia sell their products to mainly Senegalese wholesalers, who generally pay a premium price, bypassing the lower rates offered by the Gambia government.
But a statement signed by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture obtained by The Standard reads: “The general public is hereby informed that henceforth, all persons, bodies, or entities dealing in the industry of groundnut trading, particularly for the purpose of exporting out of the country, shall be subject to regulation as specified by the Groundnut Standard of Quality Act volume 9, sections 3, 5, and 15.
“Individuals or entities affected are advised to obtain a certificate of clearance in accordance with the requirements set by law. Any person caught aiding and abetting or doing anything to facilitate the export of groundnut across borders through any means without due process contrary to the Groundnut Standard of Quality Act would be arrested, put before the courts, and have the goods confiscated. By this release, the Inspector General of Police is hereby notified to arrest and prosecute anyone found in violation of this press release. Therefore, the general public is strongly advised to desist from the export of groundnut from The Gambia without following the due process.”