Groundnut farmer in The Gambia
We’ve decided to re-publish a series of blog posts on the state of Gambian agriculture in general and, the groundnut sub-sector in particular, given recent developments in the plight of the Gambian groundnut farmers who cannot sell their groundnuts for cash. And those who have “sold” their produce have done so on credit with little hope of receiving their money from the GGC. This blog post was first published in November, 2016
Groundnut production in The Gambia took a nosedive during the 2013/14 season, from a projected tonnage of 40,000 to a little over 30,000 tons, which resulted in the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) coming under heavy criticism for its overall marketing strategy.
With the increased scrutiny of the GGC and its financial viability put into question – it’s considered a financially bankrupt entity by many – the 2014/15 groundnut tonnage purchased by the agency has not been made public despite many requests.
The guesstimate is that less than 20,000 tons was purchased due to lack of adequate financial resources of the GGC.
Indications from farmers are that this year’s harvest will be poor due to equally poor rainfall patter, and if the prediction holds, it is going to add to the financial woes of the Jammeh regime.
If the bad harvest prediction holds, it will be coming at the heels of another bad season projected for the tourism sector which is the second foreign exchange earner, after agriculture. Tourism is beginning to recover after the EBOLA scare that devastated the sector resulting in 60% reduction in tourists visitors. This is further bad news for a regime that is already on the ropes for its poor human rights record, persistent mismanagement of the economy and a high level corruption.
As the principal groundnut marketing agency, the GGC’s absence from the 3-day stakeholders’ workshop held in Jenoi in preparation for the buying season expected to start in the next few weeks.
The absence of the GGC, now subsumed, according to official announcement, into a new agency called the National Food Security, Processing and Marketing Agency is instructive of the lack of direction and the general state of flux of the Jammeh regime that is drowning in corruption and incompetence.