By Fatoumatta K Jallow
With Tobaski just round the corner vendors and buyers of ram have been expressing their concerns.
During this time, livestock vendors crisscross the country with their livestock in order to make sales.
Visiting Brusubi Turntable and Coastal Road it was noticed that the minimum price for a ram in all places is seven thousand dalasi (D7,000). Some rams were on sale for more than D40,000 (forty thousand dalasi).
Many buyers appeared worried as all their attempts to come to terms with the vendors were unsuccessful. The sellers stuck to their high price tags on their livestock while the buyers cannot purchase at those prices.
Speaking to Foroyaa, a livestock owner said the cheapest of his rams is D7,000. He argued that he could not lower the price because that is determined by the price they got it from Senegal. He said even though they don’t pay tax anymore, when entering the Gambia they hire vehicles from Senegal to the Gambia. “Whenever rams are cheap then know that it is cheap in Senegal, if not, it will continue to be like this because we cannot sell them less than what we buy them,” he asserted.
Another livestock seller Lamin Dammeh at the Turntable said many factors are responsible for the increasing of price of rams, and this includes the depreciation of the dalasi compared with the CFA francs, delays at the ferry crossing point sometimes, check points, documentation of animals and others.
He said Gambians need to know that most of the livestock animals are coming from our neighboring countries, and therefore, there is need for The Gambia, especially the security forces to create the conducive environment for them to bring more animals during the Tobaski.
He emphasized that this year 2018, there are more than enough rams for sale for the Tobaski at a reasonable price in the sense that when the supply is high, the price will come down.
Isatou Jawara a ram buyer said this time things are very hard because for two years they cannot get a good ram for less than 10,000. She added that she went to Abuko but the cheapest is D5,000 but that cannot be a Tobaski ram because it was too small and it does not worth D5,000 and at the Turntable the cheapest is 8,000. She said she is a house wife and her husband is not around and it is not easy for them but the children expect her to bring a ram home for Tobaski. However if the prices of rams still remain expensive, then she will go home without a ram which means his family will stay without a ram.
Lamin Jammeh also a buyer said this year the rams are too expensive compared to the other years, he added that the new regime came with the connotation “The new Gambia” but yet the situation of the country still remains the same and no solutions are put in place to remedy the situation. He said buying rams is mandatory especially for the men. He urged the government to look in to the matter and help them so that they can have a ram at an affordable price.
Lama Jallow, said at the Turn Table the price the minimum price for a small ram is D12,000 whilst most of the small ones where sold at a price tag of D10,500 and D9,000. He said that those sold at D9,500 or D10,000 cannot feed a big family because they are very small.
He said at many selling points, he did not negotiate price because an average Gambian cannot afford to buy those rams. He emphasised that he was surprised because he has never thought that the price of a livestock will be D40, 000 to 50,000
“People had hope in this new Gambia but they have started losing hope,” he said.
He said the first thing the new government should have done is to look into the welfare of the citizenry and provide mechanisms to promote their welfare. “This year’s livestock prices are higher than the previous year’s,” he said.
He called on the government to act on its word that there will livestock available at a cheaper price. He cited the announcement of the government about the reduction of bread which has been reduced, so now let them work on the reduction of the price to something reasonable so that the average Gambian can afford it, because salaries are low.