Groundnut is the Gambia’s main cash crop

Local products bound for export faced huge challenges due to the lack of a national lab testing facilities, a group of National Assembly Members were told at a workshop organised by The Gambia Standard Bureau.

Papa Secka, Director General of The Gambia Standard Bureau, said The Gambia is facing lot of challenges with exporting local products particularly groundnut, which is the country’s main cash crop. 

Mr Secka said The Gambia exports its groundnut mainly to the European market and has encountered challenges due to the stringent EU standards on export goods. 

He said some of the groundnut yields could not be exported due to the high presence of aflatoxin, a cancer causing toxin, on some groundnuts. 

He added that the lack of a national testing facility for quality control is undermining The Gambia’s international standards obligation. He said at the moment all local products designated for exports have to be tested in neighbouring countries before exportation.

“After knowing the challenges we should know how to address the challenges by harnessing the role of the Bureau,” he said.

He said the workshop was organised to sensitise National Assembly Members about the role of the Bureau and the challenges they face in the discharge of their duties to the country.

Kebba Secka, Majority Leader at the National Assembly said the Bureau was established to take care of the health of the nation by enhancing standards.

MPs at the workshop

Mr Secka also alluded to concerns on threats posed by aflotoxin (groundnut infections) which are human transferable infections, and therefore advised the Bureau to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture to tackle the problems of infected crops.

Describing the workshop as timely, Mr Secka noted the importance of sensitising the public, adding that this is the beginning of their collaboration with the Bureau.   

Hassoum Gaye, a representative from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, said the Gambia needs to adapt to international standards, noting that our products need to compete internationally. He assured the Bureau of his Ministry’s continued support in their work to raise food standards in the country.

Presentations on Standardisation, conformity assessment, and metrology were done by Mr Amadou G. Jallow, Awa Jeng and Mr Papa Secka all staff of the Standards Bureau.

Participants’ highlighted challenges, including lack of resources, training, and food testing machine, and came up with recommendations.

Mr Sambujang Drammeh – Marketing and communication Officer at the Standard Bureau Chaired the opening ceremony.

The Gambia Bureau of Standards mandate is tobe the leading standardisation institution in promoting industrial growth and consumer welfare.

By Madi S. Njie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *