Tom Senghore, head of horticulture research programme for National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) of The Gambia has called on all and sundry to purchase onions from local producers to empower them economically.
“Our farmers have started harvesting their vegetables especially onions. Please buy the local produce to support our farmers to grow more and get more competitive,” he told The Point.
Gambia farmers particularly small scale vegetable producers have been complaining of poor market system, which is discouraging many from embarking on vegetable production in the country.
The local farmers also lack sufficient cold storage facilities to preserve perishable products such as onions when the supply is higher than demand in the market. This often leads poor market for producers and result in losses.
In this regard, the horticultural researcher said purchasing vegetable products from local producers will empower Gambian small scale producers economically.
“Buying from our farmers means supporting our micro economic and economic empowerment of women and youth,” he noted.
Senghore further said the local produce is very fresh and safe for human consumption like any other onion in the world. “In fact, the local products could be better than the imported ones because no one knows how long and where was the imported onion produced.”
“But here we are the ones in the field working with women farmers. We are advising them to apply less chemical fertilizer,” he said, adding “the local farmers produce fresh.”
The horticulturist advised government to suspend importation of onion in the country until the local producers finish their onions.