Abdoulai G. Dibba
Farmers across the country, have informed this medium that they are yet to know the farm gate price of groundnuts for this year’s trade season.
Farmers who spoke to this medium lament that the late announcement of the farm gate price of their groundnut produce over the years, has not been helpful in safeguarding their groundnut produce from being sold across the border. According to them, the late announcement of the farm price of groundnut does not only lead to the selling of their produce across the border, but discourages farmers from cultivating it.
Pa Kebba Ceesay, a farmer in the provinces, told this medium that if the farm gate price for groundnut is announced at the start or during the cropping season as it is done in Senegal, it will help boost groundnut production and productivity in the country, particularly if they know that the price is favourable to them. Ceesay said as farmers, they need to know the price of groundnuts as a motivating factor, before venturing into its production.
Farmers who spoke to this reporter on the issue, said they have started threshing and winnowing their nuts. But that until now, they are yet to know what the price for their nuts will be, in the forthcoming trade season. They call on the Ministry of Agriculture to announce the price before the larger part of their harvest will go to middlemen and cross the border to Senegal.
After hearing the concerns of the farmers, this reporter contacted the Managing Director of the National Food Security, Processing and Marketing Corporation (or former GGC), the main buyers of groundnut in the country, to shed light on the issue.
When contacted, MD Carvalho informed this reporter that the farm gate price and starting date for the forthcoming groundnut trade season, is the prerogative of the Board of the National Food Security, Processing and Marketing Corporation. “The Board is the approving authority of the farm gate price and commencement date of the trade season. As the MD, I cannot say anything until they decide,” he said.
He pointed out that the Board will meet during the course of the week and will get back to this medium after their meeting, for more information on the issue.