The anonymous source said the shipping lines in the Gambia have confirmed the same story.
According to our source, he had informed a person working at the Ministry of Agriculture and the person responded that “this has been an issue.”
The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Abdoulie Jammeh, when contacted for comments, said diplomatic channels have been employed over the matter.
He explained that before one exports an agricultural product (s) to the People’s Republic of China you need to have the requirement from the Chinese authorities.
DPS Jammeh, said China gives chance to the developing countries to waive the duty on food products and Ministry of Trade and Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) have made an assessment and sent the food products from Gambia.
He added that based on that the Chinese authorities allowed Fish and Sesames products while the request for groundnuts is still pending.
According to DPS Jammeh, his ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will engage the Chinese Embassy in the Gambia in order to remedy the situation for the betterment of the Gambian farmers and the country at large.
He further explained that The Gambia and China have a good relationship and since the change of the government, the Chinese government has extended their provincial trade regime with the Gambia and “this is part of the flexibility of World Trade Organisation (WTO) that allows developing countries that are in position to give provincials to less developed countries.”
Jammeh said the Chinese government has extended those provincials to the Gambia but it is not only the Gambia that is benefiting from this provincial treatment but countries like Senegal as well.
He added that The Gambia requested the approval to export various products that have potential to be exported such as “the groundnut, fish, cashewnut and sesame shell products that we think have potential for export.”
Jammeh said the list was prepared by the FSQA with the different stakeholders, as FSQA is the competent authority to ascertain the quality of food products and food related products for export and import. He added that this list was sent to China and they responded that list was long because the request does not came from only the Gambia but other developing countries.
“We had done that in 2018 and we resubmitted it through FSQA and they also sent it through our diplomatic channel.”
DPS Jammeh noted that the Chinese authorities reviewed it and sent a questionnaire regarding those products. “The whole idea is to know whether the products are safe for human consumption and those answers were provided and resubmitted to the Chinese authorities.”
He further said after China reviewed their answers, they gave the approval to the Gambian government to export sesames and last year they gave us another approval to export fish and its related products.
“Our request for groundnut is yet to be approved after the submission of the answers they requested and they sent supplementary questions and the Ministry of Trade worked closely with the FSQA and prepared the responses which were submitted to the Chinese authorities through a diplomatic channel in November last year and we are awaiting their response,” he added.
DPS Jammeh assured that his ministry would continue to follow-up through diplomatic channels, while working according to bilateral engagements with the Chinese Embassy in Banjul in order to remedy the situation.