21 November 2012

Gambia: Food Insecurity in the Gambia As the Country Produces Half of Its Domestic Consumption

Information emanating from the Food and Agricultural Organisation revealed that there is food insecurity in the Gambia as the country produces about 50 percent of its domestic consumption.

According to FAO, production of food commodities for local consumption heavily depends on the weather and that the country produces about 50 percent of its domestic requirements.

The country, the information revealed, relies on rice imports from the international market to meet its consumption needs, and food prices are strongly affected by the exchange rate of the Dalasi.

Soaring international food prices and low national production, stated FAO, are leading to high inflationary pressure on the domestic food market and consequently eroding the purchasing power of urban and rural consumers. It added that subsistence farming households do not produce enough in their mono crop system to achieve a marketable surplus and that income from agriculture and other sources is limited, often due to insufficient output marketing opportunities.

Poor rural households, the information further revealed, have to bridge a food deficit period between 4 to 6 months, generally in the raining season.

It information went on to state that Agriculture is the key sector for investment to achieve long-term food security as well as reducing poverty levels as stated in Vision 2020 and the MDG and that in order to achieve these goals, the agricultural sector needs to be transformed from subsistence farming to market oriented commercial enterprises.

It concluded that the comparative advantages of agricultural and human resources need to be built, emphasising on productivity increases and competitiveness.

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