On the 18th of April 2023, the ROOTS Project proudly unveiled the Market Price Information System, designed to benefit rice and vegetable producers across the country. The MIS aims to bridge the information gap by providing up-to-date market prices, demand and supply trends of cereals and vegetables, enabling farmers to make informed production and marketing decisions.
Implemented by United Purpose, the MIS was initially piloted during the NEMA Project, where farmers could access market prices of key vegetables in the country’s major markets. With the official launch of the MIS, farmers now have access to a more robust and comprehensive system.
Here are some of the added features of the MIS:
Increased Language Options
The number of local languages embedded in the system has increased from two to five, with Fula, Jola, and Serahule added to Wollof and Mandinka. The addition of these languages is essential to provide information to a more extensive audience, and ultimately, to promote inclusivity and accessibility.
Expanded Market Coverage
Eleven new markets have been added to the system, resulting in 21 markets surveyed weekly across the country. The expansion of market coverage ensures that farmers have a more comprehensive view of the market and can better plan their production and sales.
Weekly Price Collection
For each market, prices of 13 rice and vegetable commodities are collected weekly by market price collectors trained to use a smartphone application to upload information. The information is then relayed to the system in real-time, providing farmers with accurate and up-to-date market data.
With the upgraded MIS, 308 villages and communities now have access to the Market Price Information System. This accessibility enables farmers to make better-informed decisions by utilizing the available data to plan their production and sales more effectively.
Currently, 7300 facilitators and users across the country can access the platform at any time to receive up-to-date information on market prices, which they can then share with their garden members. The system now also includes a WhatsApp access feature, allowing farmers to request and receive market price information via text messages, in addition to the existing voice-prompt system.
The official launch was a significant occasion, attended by stakeholders, implementing partners, farmer organizations, and graced by Hon. Minister of Agriculture Dr. Demba Sabally. The Market Information System is poised to transform the cereal and vegetable sector by providing farmers with the necessary data to make informed decisions, ultimately leading to better crop yields, improved quality, and increased profitability.
The Minister commended the ROOTS Project and United Purpose for their achievement, which provides farmers with a tool that can significantly enhance their decision-making with respect to when or where to sell their produce to maximize returns. He also highlighted the need to harmonize various systems aiming to serve the same purpose to create synergy, resource use efficiency, and minimize effort duplication.
The Minister emphasized the importance of ensuring the sustainability of the MIS beyond the ROOTS Project and its eventual transfer to the Department of Planning under the Ministry to ensure greater access and visibility to a wider stakeholder populace, including buyers of vegetable and rice produce and the general public.
In conclusion, the Minister thanked all parties concerned and declared the Market Price Information System launched, stating that the Ministry will continue to spare no effort to improve the livelihoods of Gambian farmers under the leadership of His Excellency President Adama Barrow.