By Yankuba Jallow
The National Agro Dealers Association (NADA), have held their first press conference at the Cashew Alliance Building on Kairaba Avenue, to discuss issues of the Association.
NADA was formed on the 28th August 2017, with the drive to boost the current efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture in its quest to transform and revitalise the agriculture sector and with the ultimate aim of contributing to sustainable development and poverty eradication through enhance agricultural practices.
The Association is the umbrella of traders, farmers, ‘kaffos’ and private organisations, engaged in key production in agriculture, such as groundnuts, cashew, maize, sesame, millets etc.
NADA among its objectives is equipping famers and key agricultural products dealers, with the necessary business knowledge and strategies to adopt in order to level the playing field in terms of pricing, quality and standards required, to meet export potentials with a view to increase market access. The Association in its view, will work hard in order to redress the common deficiency in agro product business and marketing skills, among dealers and growers.
Speaking to the press, the President of NADA Mr. Sulayman Bah, said the Association’s intervention is designed and positioned to equip farmer based organisations engaged in key agricultural and business development, for better business practices towards growth and sustainability; that the Association seeks to redress pricing of agricultural products and regulate prices imposed by foreign buyers and the quality of major farm products.
On the issue of poor pricing Mr. Bah said these have greatly dented the image and capacity building of Gambia’s products; that NADA is of the view that farmers and growers of key products have little or no say in the determination of the price of their products and are left at the mercy of foreign and private dealers, without proper checks and balances put in place.
“This has led to unlevelled business grounds, detrimental to our farmers and growers, and NADA’s view is for Government and stakeholders to devise and strategize plans in fixing the price(s) of key agricultural products, which will ultimately create a level and conducive business climate for our farmers, growers and stakeholders,” Mr. Bah said. Mr. Bah proposed that there is need to transform a predominantly agrarian economy into a modern commercial and manufacturing one, based on best agricultural practices.
Furthermore, he said the agricultural sector in the Gambia accounts for about 35% of the national GDP and its contribution to employment creation stands at 75% of the country’s population and meets about 50% of the national food requirement. He pointed out the major challenges in the sector as difficulties in accessing finance by small scale farmers and inadequate entrepreneurial skills; that mechanisation has proven to be an obstacle in the efforts to transform the sector in the midst of low-level of value addition and access to market.