minister of Agriculture, Omar O. Jallow accompanied by managing director of
GCC - Anthony Carvalho last Thursday inspected the first consignment of one
thousand metric tonnes of fertilizer from Senegal at Barra Depot in the North
The fertilizer, according to the agric officials, is purchased by The Gambia government through a loan facility from the International Trade Finance Cooperation of the Islamic Development Bank.
Shortly after inspecting the fertilizer, Minister Jallow acknowledged that as a government, there main emphasises was to ensure that there is fertilizer in the country and made available to farmers on time.
“As the minister of Agriculture, I am very pleased that government under the leadership of President Adama Barrow is able to purchase fertilizer on time for farmers ahead of the rainy season,” he stated.
He disclosed that the fertilizer would be distributed to all the selected ‘seccos’ from Monday onwards with a bag costing D700.
“We want to make sure that the fertilizer is distributed to all the selected seccos on time to enable farmers to have early access to it, which is a rare opportunity for them,” he said.
He emphasised that as stakeholders in the Agric sector, they are forecasting a bumper harvest this year.
Minister Jallow, however, expressed his ministry’s resolve to revive the cooperative movement as the main institution where government and any other organisations that intend to assist farmers would be channelled through.
“The former regime abolished the cooperative movements which were the main channel of communication and distribution of cash loans, equipment and fertilizer from the farmers,” he stated.
He said before the abolition of the cooperative movements, the ministry used to realise 97% loan repayment from the farmers “because the cooperatives movements were managed by the farmers themselves.”
For his part, Anthony Carvalho, the managing director of The Gambia Groundnut Cooperation stated that normally they have a loan facility of up to D5M from the International Trade Finance Cooperation of the Islamic Development Bank for the purchased of fertilizer, farm inputs and seeds.
“But this loan normally comes in form of a revolving basis and we repay it after one year. So that is how we purchased fertiliser to sell to our Gambian farmers. But this year, two companies won the bid notably, Fame Agro and Atlas Trading Company in The Gambia. Atlas will bring Vietnam type while Fame Agro will bring the Russian type. We just want to ensure that farm inputs are available to the farmers before the rainy season. Farming is a business and not a hobby, therefore farmers need to take it seriously, because now is the time they should buy their fertiliser. ”
Carvalho disclosed that another consignment of 3000 metric tonnes is expected to arrive from Vietnam and Russian in few weeks’ time.