By Saikou suwareh Jabai
Dealers in small ruminants and cattle at the ‘Tobaski Ram Sale’ venue at Abuko are complaining about the low turnout of customers as the Muslim feast is fast approaching.
They raised this concern in an interview with this reporter yesterday, 7th September, 2016.
Muhammed Ndow, a Gambian dealer who buys his rams from Senegal, said they are not making many sales as expected because the customers are not coming to buy.
‘It’s less than a week before the ‘Tobaski’ but see how empty the place is.,” he said, pointing at the different directions.
Mr. Ndow disclosed that some people are coming not to buy but asking about the prices of his animals.
He added that they buy the animals in Senegal with Franc CFA which is very high at the moment and that this is what makes the purchasing of the rams their very expensive.
He said they do not encounter any problems with the Gambian authorities but that it is the high cost of the rams and goats in Senegal as well as the cost on transport which determine the prices of the animals.
Mr. Ndow said some people do wait until it is a day before the feast to come and buy with the hope that it is cheaper at this time.
He said a ram can be purchased at a price as low as D4, 000 and that depending on the size, some are sold up to D30,000.
Mamadou Salieu Sam, a Senegalese national who also sells small ruminants, expressed similar concerns. He also attributed the high cost of rams to the exchange rate increase of the FCFA currency. He said the business is slow this year compared to the previous year when they used to make more sales.
One Muhammed Darboe, a customer, said the rams are very expensive. He said he bought his at D8500 which many people, especially the low income earners, could not afford.
Mr. Kebba Tumani Sanneh, the managing director of the Abuko abbatoir, said they have been assisting the dealers by providing night security to their animals in order to ensure that the prices are reasonable.
He said most of the rams and goats on sale are being imported into the country and therefore urged Gambians to start raring livestock as this will help in reducing the prices of the animals, especially on feast days like Tobaski.