President Yahya Jammeh has used his nationally televised Eid-ul-Adha message to remind Gambians that his agro-business corporation, Kanilai Family Farms will be selling rams and other livestock at a discounted price.
President Jammeh has been criticized for monopolizing businesses in the country, rendering other competitors bankrupt and shying away investors.
Jammeh however said other livestock dealers have been exempted from paying taxes ahead of the Muslim festival called ‘Tobaski’ with reduced ferry crossing tariffs.
The government, which had previously interfered by dictating the prices and threatening arrest took the new approach after last year’s boycott by most traders from Senegal and Mauritania. An immigration department spokesperson said restrictions on livestock importation were also relaxed.
The incentives however does not make it any easier for farmers to compete President Jammeh’s all time low prices with the fall of the local dalasi against the dollar. This has resulted to increase in the price of other imported food items.
The Gambia relies on imports for nearly half of its cereal consumption requirements (mostly rice and wheat) and domestic cereal prices are strongly affected by world prices and the exchange rate of the Dalasi.
Mr. Jammeh said his government is monitoring the prices of goods and services and working towards making them accessible and affordable.
Last week, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization said The Gambia needs continued assistance to address food crisis with high prices of goods restricting access.
The Gambian leader is also in the business of selling clothing and bakery products, mining and oil.
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting by Sainey MK Marenah; Editing by Alhagie Jobe)