Jan 15, 2015, 11:21 AM
six years without congress, the Cashew Farmers Federation over the weekend held
congress where they elected in a new executive held in Brikama.
During the congress, the farmers raised several concerns and unanimously elected Louis Silva as president and Amadou Jallow as Secretary General, while the rest were elected by representatives of all cashew associations in the country.
Elected president Luis Silva said the congress was long overdue because they missed to communicate for almost six years, adding that they took it as a wise decision to restructure the Federation for the best interest of the stakeholders and the nation.
Mr Silva emphasized that they are faced with problems, saying there is a need for them to work together in order to achieve their dreams. “In June 2014, representatives from all cashew farmers association in the country held a congress in Jenoi and elected the first executive committee of the federation to manage our activities. Unfortunately, they failed in all their duties and responsibilities mandated to them by the general body.”
Dwelling on their constraints with the former executive, Mr Silva highlighted that the previous executive failed to register and affiliate with all registered cashew farmers association and they never conduct meeting or prepare activity reports.
He disclosed that the ex-executive failed to meet the contract agreement they signed with Mr. Bah from Holland through GIEPA, which is under court.
According to him, among other contracts they signed was one that worth over five million dalasis with GGC to supply them with raw cashew nuts which they never delivered nor return the money.
Faba Jammeh, director of trade at the ministry of trade explained the reason why they sponsor the AGM, saying they know the importance of cashew and is part of their export list. He added that some years back, they had some cashew problems and his minister had to go to Guinea Bissau and Senegal to make sure that there will be easy import and export of cashew.
“We cannot consume all the cashews we have in the country, so the importation is to help us. We want to make so that cashew farmers benefit from their product,” he said, and added “we will help the cashew farmers and inspire them with knowledge in the cashew business.”
Bakary Saidykhan of GIEPA, who spoke about exports stated that the Chinese are buying cashew nuts from The Gambia and selling it in the international markets which, he said the government should look into and stop it.
“If you go to the super markets in abroad, you will see made in China, India or Brazil and the fact is some of those cashews are exported from The Gambia. We as a nation want to see those cashews are label as made in Gambia. Some of them do transport it to London, which is costlier there.”
Bakary Sanyang, representative of Shelter for Life also stated that they have six years project called ‘lift cashew project’ to help farmers. He added that because of lack of cash and machine for the farmers, the cashew business cannot reach its expectations.
“The Chinese and the Indians come and fake our farmers because one kilo of cashew bought in The Gambia is one dollar and in the world market, they sell them six to seven dollars. Our project came to stop that.”
Alpha Ousman Jallow, executive director of Cashew Alliance The Gambia and the electoral commission of the congress, expressed delight and thanked the partners for the continued support.