Gambia, The - Country Commercial Guide
Agriculture

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data

Last published date: 2020-09-17

Overview

Agriculture is the most important sector in The Gambian economy and one of the priority areas of development, particularly in the new global climate of price escalation of staple food items and oil. Agriculture is a major driver of growth in The Gambia. It accounts for approximately one quarter of GDP and employs 75 percent of the labor force.  In 2017, agriculture contributed approximately 20 percent to GDP of The Gambia’s 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. 

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. Approximately only 38 percent of the total land area of the country or about 430,000 Ha is arable. Agriculture is listed as a strategic priority in the National Development Plan (2018 – 2021).

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 Ministry of Agriculture has a mandate to develop and modernize agriculture, and states that they will readily give all necessary support and incentives to any serious investor who wants to invest and operate in support of the government’s efforts to develop the sector.

Leading Sub-Sectors

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. Given steady population growth of about 3 percent per annum, the demand for imported rice will remain strong. This presents a good opportunity for U.S. rice exporters, with U.S. rice already widely consumed in significant quantities.

Agro-processed Products: The Gambian government seeks to increase the production of honey, fruits, vegetables, and dairy, and seeks to enhance the agricultural value chain while transforming the livestock sector.

Increase production of basic agricultural commodities: The NDP seeks to increase maize, groundnut, rice, onion and tomato production; and the livestock production in cattle, sheep, goat, pig, and poultry farming,

Fisheries: The Gambian government also seeks to boost fisheries as a percentage of GDP from 6.4 percent to 15 percent and also the percentage of fish resources exported from 32 percent to 43 percent by 2021 by increasing fisheries production from 53,719 to 75,000 tons.         

Opportunities

There are five key areas of agricultural opportunities in the Gambia:

Horticulture:

  • Fruits:  mangoes, citrus, bananas, avocadoes, guava, cashews, oil palm, coconuts
  • Large range vegetables:  onions, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, cowpeas, beans
  • Oil trees:  cashew, oil palm, coconuts
  • Cereal grains:  rice, maize, sorghum, wheat

Animal Production

  • Cattle
  • Small ruminants, including goats, swine, rabbits, with large local and international market
  • Poultry, including chickens, ducks, pheasants, turkeys

Agricultural mechanisation

  • Land preparation:  tractors, harrows, seeders
  • Irrigation:  solar panels, pumps and piping
  • Post-harvest machinery:  harvesters, threshers, milling machines
  • Storage and packaging materials:  cold storage, grain silos, poultry and meat packaging materials, grain and flour packaging materials

Agro Industries

  • Animal/fish feed plants
  • Agro-pharmaceuticals
  • Pesticides and fertilizer
  • Pesticide plants

Agribusiness

  • Supply and distribution of agricultural inputs
  • Marketing of agricultural produce

Resources

Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)