Abdoulai G. Dibba
Farmers throughout the length and breadth of the country are asking for seeds particularly groundnuts, for this year’s cropping season.
According to them, without the help of the Government, they will not be able to cultivate their groundnut farms, because there is no groundnut seed left with them.
The farmers informed this medium that they used to save seeds from their own harvests, but due to the erratic rains of last year, their groundnuts did not mature properly and therefore cannot serve as seed due to its poor quality.
Sambou Dampha, farmer and Board member of the National Farmers’ Platform representing North Bank Region, said the farmers of the whole region are in need of groundnut seeds and have nowhere to look for except from the intervention of Government.
“Our hope is the Government and if they fail to help us with groundnut seeds, our poverty and food insecurity will increase as we have no seeds for the country’s main cash crop,” he stated
Commenting on the start of the rainy season, Mr Dampha said if they are assisted with seeds and they sow on time, they are hopeful that there will be a bumper harvest if the rains continue the way it has started.
Alhagi Ebrima Bayai, the treasurer of the National Farmers’ Platform representing West Coast Region said their main constraint with regard to this year’s cropping season, is seeds, in particular, groundnut seed.
He said the groundnut harvested in the Gambia cannot be used as seed because they are of poor quality.
Mr. Beyai pointed out that last year, the rain stopped at a time when the groundnuts were yet to mature and thereby rendered it unfit as seed.
However, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Amadou Sanneh, stated that “in the area of agricultural promotion, government has reduced the price of fertilizer from D950 per bag to D700 per bag and efforts are being made to reduce the price of seed nuts from D2,500 per bag to D2,000 per bag”. “This is aimed at increasing production remarkably from 3,000MT to 200,000 MT” he stated.
Minister Sanneh made these statements at the National Assembly while tabling the revised Estimates of Revenues, Recurrent and Development Expenditures, for the Fiscal year 2017.
Other farmers share the same views and called on Government to speed up as the cropping season is moving away fast and there is time for everything during the season.