By: Kebba Secka
Farmers in Fulladu West have blamed the government for not properly buying their groundnuts this year, expressing concern over the large stocks kept in their various seccos (buying and selling) points.
Mr. Foday Konateh, a farmer from Fulladu last week walked into our offices to express disappointment and frustration on behalf of his fellow farmers over the way the government handled groundnut trade in their area. “Since the government’s announcement of its intention of buying groundnuts at the start of the trade season this year, our seccos have never been supplied with cash meant for buying our produce. Our peanuts are still being kept and suddenly we heard that government has closed this year’s trading season,” he said. According to him, this is very shocking to them and farmers in Fulladu West have no choice but to sell their quality groundnuts to petty buyers locally called ‘banabanas’. This, he says, is not much of benefit to them but it is inevitable. He said they were expecting the government to provide sufficient cash to all seccos across the country as it had promised thatall groundnutsproduced would be bought. “This is what we were expecting to happen,” he reiterated.
Mr. Konateh disclosed that some thirty-six villages surrounding Fula Banta in Fulladu District did not witness any form of groundnut trade season for this year. He said despite the fact that Ministry of Agriculture made pronouncements revolving around the buying of groundnuts, farmers in Fulla Banta area have considered themselves as having been left out. Mr Konateh said the Ministry of Agriculture seemed to be prioritizing their area of choice in their service delivery. This, he argues, is not in the best interest of the sector and the nation at large. “We are discourage and disappointed by this government for promising to buy our groundnuts and not doing so,” Mr. Konateh remarked in an interview with our reporter. “The failure in the Jahally Pacharr Rice Fields and that of the peanuts sector are one of the worst in the history of the Agriculture Ministry,” he observed. “We think the Minister of Agriculture is incapable of steering the affairs of the sector. This I think is because of why he is buying the groundnuts of some farmers elsewhere and leaving out others. Are we not all equal as farmers?” Konateh questioned.
He went on to remind President Barrow and his entire government about the need to assist farmers in addressing problems facing the sector that serves as sources for employment and income generation. “Allowing our groundnuts to be sold to the ‘banabanas in the weekly market (lumo) is an unfortunate idea for anybody that reason it that way,” he said. “On a final note and on behalf of my community, I urge government to pay better attention to the farmers in this country for we are having the backbone of our economy,” Mr Konateh concluded.