The business persons at the trade fare organized by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce at the Independence Stadium have reported an unexpected drop in sales.
The trade fare which was attended by different businesses in the country and abroad, mainly Senegal, was the second one that the GCCI has organized in 2015 with the end of the year fare spilling over to 2016.
Mama Camara, a native of Brikama Darrsilami who sells locally processed and packaged food items, mainly cereal crops, said she has experienced a slump in sales of about 40% as compared to last year’s which took place in March.
“The sales are not impressive this time. I have sold over D10, 000 here last year but I fell far below that this year. The numbers of people who come to the trade fare are not as much as the last one and most of them don’t buy anything,” she noted.
Mama observed that the low in sales could be attributed to the fact that trade fare was preceded by Christmas and New Year celebrations; two of the year’s biggest spending festivities for Gambians.
“I think the low in sales is because the trade fare was preceded by New Year and Christmas— most people might have spent their money during these festivities,” she said.
“The GCCI should also try and do more publicity for the trade. I know some people hear about it but sometimes people might be more willing to come if they are also told what types of products are displayed at the trade fare. Some people don’t know about the trade fare.”
These views were shared by Mamjarra Nyassy, fashion designer and proprietor MJM’s Marketing and Lamin Bojang of Gambia Horticultural Entreprise Limited, GHE.
Other people who also complained of low sales were women farmers from CRR and North Bank Region who were selling vegetables and locally grown rice.
A group of women from CRR told The Standard that they were only able to sell 4 of the 10 bags of rice that they brought with them.
“We were expecting the sales to be little better than this. It is not very favorable because we have spent good number of cash on transporting these goods to this place,” they said.
However, the CEO of GCCI has said that the trade fare was a success.
He told journalists on the sideline of the closing ceremony that the vendors have given them a “positive feedback” on the sales during the course of the trade fare.
Meanwhile, the trade fare has seen an impressive display of both foreign and Gambian products ranging from fashion, food items, art works, and various agricultural products.
As it was an opportunity for importers of foreign goods, so was it for fledgling Gambian manufacturing industries to show their locally processed products.
Gambia Horticultural Entreprise Limited, GHE, established by Momodou Ceesay in 1990 has displayed various fruit juice that are being processed, packaged and consume in the country.
Among the variety of locally made juice on display were orange, mango, boabao, among many others.
Lamin Bojang, an employee of the company, said the quality of their locally made juice is as good as the imported ones, adding that the response of the Gambians towards their products has been gradually improving.