Nov 4, 2009, 2:39 PM
The report, presented before members of the Public Accounts/Enterprises committee of the National Assembly on Monday, indicated that the corporation’s handling, transportation and processing infrastructure is almost obsolete, as most of it were purchased and installed in the 1960s and 70s during the time of the Gambia Produce Marketing Board.
“These machinery, plants and equipment have outlived their usefulness and economic lives resulting in low availability and high maintenance costs,” the report said, adding that the machinery, plants and equipment have been kept operating as a result of the dedication and maintenance culture of the technical staff even with limited financial resources for the procurement of the requisite spare parts.
Highlighting the over effects of the challenges, the report indicated that with volumes being handled, the entire marketing from buying, processing and sale of products should not exceed six months.
However, it added, because of the infrastructural challenges, the marketing seasons go beyond ten months, increasing costs of operations, quality deterioration and inability to meet contractual obligations in terms of delivery/schedules and, therefore, defaults and threats of arbitration from buyers.
Poor harvesting yields
The report also revealed that most of the current processing machineries do not lend themselves to modern processing techniques in terms of high throughput and yields. It said maintenance of good quality during processing is also a challenge resulting in loss of revenue due to price discounting.
Limitation in levels of value addition
Noting that there are lots of marketable products that could be produced from groundnuts, such as refined oil, and roasted nuts, the report stated that GGC is currently limited to the production of only three products: HPS/Birdfeed, crude groundnut oil and un-detoxified groundnut cake.
“Thus the full potential of the industry remains untapped with attendant economic loss,” it added.
On the way forward, the report suggested the modernization of the corporation’s entire value chain infrastructure in order to overcome these challenges, among others.