Agriculture in GabonGabon is located in Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Most of the landscape reflects the influence of Gabon's major river, the Ogooue, West Africa's major river between the CONGO and the NIGER rivers. The Ogooue basin dominates the eastern two-thirds of the country. There are two other lesser regions within the Gabon landscape, the Woleu-Ntem River basin in the north and an interesting coastal plain in the west and southwest.
Between the two coastal plains is the country's major highland region, the Chaillu Massif that rises to an elevation of 3,215 ft (980 m) at Mount Iboundji, Gabon's highest point.
The total land area of Gabon is 267,667 km² and the total exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is 202,790 km² . The continental shelf of Gabon is approximately 35,020 km² 227,517 km² of Gabon's territory is covered by dense equatorial rainforest, and forest land comprises 85% of all the land in the country. Within this rich ecological zone grows the Gabon mahogany, a hardwood tree that forms the backbone of Gabon's wood industry. There are 3,118 km² of arable land in Gabon, and it comprises 1% of the country's total territory.
Gabon has a typical equatorial climate. Rainfall is heavy and varies by location and time of year. The annual average is almost 120 in (305 cm) at Libreville, the capital, to 150 in (381 cm) on the northwest coast. Most of the rain comes between October and May. Temperatures show little seasonal variation, averaging about 81 degrees F (27 degrees C) each month of the year. Surprisingly, it does not feel as hot as one might expect for a country astride the equator, and nighttime lows are often near 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) in the highlands.
The population of Gabon is around 2,3 mln (as of 2021 statistics) with density around 9 per km2 meaning it is able to service its domestic market food demands relatively easily. Unlike other African countries, it lacks agricultural workers, and is therefore less preoccupied with smallholder-led production. Most people live in urban areas and only 40 per cent of Gabon's rural population works in the agriculture. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP) in Gabon was reported at 6.404 % in 2020, according to the World Bank. Gabon relies heavily on food imports, which account for the majority of domestic food consumption. Imported foodstuffs come mainly from France, South Africa, and Cameroon.
The backbone of the agriculture sector in Gabon is primarily made up of subsistence smallholder farmers in the country’s rural hinterlands. The Ministry of Agriculture of Gabon estimated (2016) that there were around 70,000 farms of this nature. Such farms were between 1 and 2 ha in size, and they primarily cultivated plantain, cassava, taro, yam and various other vegetables. In addition, local husbandry was also practised at a relatively small level in family compounds.
In less rural areas, private individuals – namely active and retired civil servants – cultivated fruits and vegetables on medium-sized private farms. As no census had ever been conducted on this type of farming, it was difficult to estimate the size of this category, which also includes private medium-sized rubber plantations (no smaller than 10 ha) and small palm plantations.
Small farms began developing on the outskirts of urban centres, particularly near Libreville, around the same time that the country started experiencing high urbanisation rates and an increase in domestic demand for fresh produce.
The local palm oil industry is increasing in the country despite controversies (ecologically diverse areas of rainforest are often cut down to allow cultivation to take place) . As of 2016 governmental joint ventured company continued to account for the largest share of production, operating some 7500 ha of plantations around Makouké in the Moyen-Oogoué Province A major factor determining the oil extraction ratio is the quality and ripeness of the fresh fruit bunch.
Forestry industry in GabonNorthern Gabon is a prime location for rubber plantations, and rubber trees have been grown in the region for decades by local villagers. As with oil palm, the development of rubber cultivation has been criticized for its negative impact on the environment.
There are three major forest types in Gabon:
1. Evergreen rainforest in the west, which has been heavily harvested, degraded and in some areas reduced to secondary forest characterized by the species Okoumé (Aucomeaklaineana), one of the most important species of the Gabonese timber sector, and Ozigo (Dacryodesbuettneri);
2. Closed humid central Gabonese forest, covering most of the country, with many species found to similar forests found elsewhere in the region such as Azobé (Lophiraalata), Mahogany species (Entandrophragma spp. and Khaya spp.), Aiélé (Canariumschweinfurthii) and Ayous (Triplochitonscleroxylon);
3. Semi-deciduous forest type in the northeast, characterized by trees such as Limba (Terminalia superba), Wengé (Millettialaurentii) and Ayous (Triplochitonscleroxylon).
The full 100% of the Gabonese forests is owned by the state, although the management of the forest areas can be divided into three different categories:
1. Production forests which are managed by private concessionaires, although the management rights are exclusively administered by the state.
2. Protection forests, which are directly managed by the state. Gabon has 13 national parks and some other protected areas, covering together approximately 12% of the country.
3. The domaine rural, which is generally land and forest where rural communities and forest dwellers are free to exercise their customary rights, provided that they respect the conditions imposed by the forest administration.
Among the species currently harvested, there are mainly 24 species:
Andoung (Monopetalanthusspp, Tetraberliniapolyphylla and Toubaouatebrevipaniculata)
Beli Brun andBeli Rouge (Julbernardiapellegriniana)
Doussié (Afzeliabipindensiset A. pachyloba)
Padouk (Pterocarpus soyauxii)
Okoumé is the "flagship" species of Gabon's production, accounting for over 60% of the logs produced there. Industrial production in Gabon is very clearly dominated by sawn timber (accounting for over 70% of production) but Gabon stands out from the other countries of the Sub-Region thanks to its relatively significant production of plywood/veneers (Gabon is a top 5 world exporter of tropical timber veneers).
Fishing industry in GabonCapture fisheries production (metric tons) in Gabon was reported at 29000 metric tons in 2018, according to the World Bank As reported by the government, fisheries in Gabon include two main sectors. One is the industrial sector operated mainly by foreign vessels and joint ventures, including reflagged vessels often referred to as “domestic” but essentially remaining mainly under foreign beneficial ownership The other is the artisanal sector, which is operated mainly by migrant fishers, a distinguishing feature of Gabonese fisheries.