Agriculture and farming in Gambia

Gambia

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Agriculture in Gambia

The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, with the border based on the Gambia River. Except for the sea coast, the country is surrounded by the Republic of Senegal and extends inland for 200 320 kilometres. The Gambia is about 48 kilometres wide along the coast, narrowing to 24 kilometres at its eastern border. From sea level, interior elevations rise to 112 feet. Its dominant feature, the Gambia River, begins in the Futa Jallon highlands in Guinea and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The river is fringed with mangrove swamps for about 170 miles inland, followed by open savanna and, in places, by red iron-stone cliffs.

Climate is subtropical with a distinct hot and rainy season from June to October, and a cooler dry season from November to May. The beginning and end of the rains are marked by high temperatures and high humidity, whereas the dry season is noted for the dusty and dry trade winds (harmattan) blowing in from the central Sahara. Temperatures range from a low of 9°C in January to a high of 43°C in October. Because of the cooling effect of the ocean, temperatures are lower along the coast than in the interior.

The Gambia is vulnerable to periodic drought because it is part of the arid Sahel Zone between the Sahara Desert and the coastal rain forest. Vegetation ranges from woodlands to savanna with sparse grass and shrubs. Much of the sandy soil is low in plant nutrients. Palm trees are present in coastal areas, and baobab, kapok, acacia, and mahogany trees are found throughout the country. Gambia arable land for 2018 was 440,000 hectares. Arable land as a share of land area of Gambia increased from 12.8 % in 1969 to 43.5 % in 2018 growing at an average annual rate of 2.82%.

Agriculture is a vital sector in the Gambia. It accounts for about 17.8 percent of gross domestic product (as of 2020), ranking behind the services sector, which recorded 68.8 percent of GDP. Output in the agricultural sectors is growing steadily, however, current output levels only meet 50 percent of the country’s food needs. Crop yields are generally low, with an average of 1.5 tons/Ha compared to other countries where an estimated yield of 3-4 tons/Ha for cereals, excluding rice, for which yields of up to 6 tons/Ha have been obtained elsewhere.  In general, more than two-thirds of Gambians reside in rural areas and derive their livelihoods from agriculture and related activities. Agriculture is an important source of income for households, behind wages and salaries and petty trading. The agriculture sector plays an important role in ending hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty.

The main agricultural products grown locally are peanuts (groundnuts), rice, millet and sorghum. The main fruits produced include mangoes and cashews. These are also the major cash crops, while rice is the staple crop. The Gambia has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of rice in the region. Local production only accounts for a small fraction of the amount of rice consumed, leaving a high demand for imported rice.

The Gambia has great potential for irrigated agriculture, with fresh water from the River Gambia, rainwater if harvested, and fossil water that can be drilled. It also has a weather pattern that is suitable for almost all production. The Gambia's salt and fresh waters have abundant and diverse resources. It has a total continental shelf area of 3855 sq. km on the Atlantic Ocean in one of the richest fishing zones of the world. Species present include pelagic and demersal fish, as well as crustaceans and shellfish. With a theoretical annual MSY of 65,000 - 75,000 MT and estimated annual exploitation of around 45,000 MT, the fisheries resources are believed to be under-exploited.

In 2017 exports were valued at USD 3.4 million and the value of imports at USD 0.5 million. Fisheries are of extremely important both socially and economically as a source of long-lasting jobs and proteins not only for the fishing communities but also for the country as a whole. Although the annual per capita gross fish consumption is estimated at 25 kg compared with 8.2 kg in the rest of Africa, fish consumption remains much higher in the coastal areas than in the hinterlands. The fisheries sub-sector is both industrial and artisanal, with the latter accounting for about two thirds of the total catch. Marine fish resources are enhanced by the freshwater flows of the River Gambia. Prolific mangrove growth supports thriving ecosystems and the brackish and freshwater zones of the middle and upper regions are also rich in crabs and shrimps, with great potential for aquaculture. The River Gambia is one of the major rivers in West Africa and is navigable up to 390 km upstream. Ships up to 3,000 tons with a maximum draft of 17 feet are able to navigate 150 miles upriver to the trading port of Kaur. Banjul has a well-equipped port with two berths, spacious anchorages, large customs clearing warehouses, and a 25-ton capacity crane. Smaller fishing and pleasure boats are anchored in Oyster Creek, 2 miles from Banjul. Aquaculture production is still negligible, although tilapia farming in homestead ponds in rice-growing areas dates back to the 1970’s. Estimated aquaculture production was around 35 tonnes in 2016, including 20 tonnes of oyster and 15 tonnes of freshwater fishes, principally tilapia.

Agricultural advertisements in Gambia, buy and sell classified ads

Agricultural equipment from China, a large selection of equipment, the best prices in Gambia

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Early millet, late millet from Gambia, best prices, export, ask for today price

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