Gambia: 2019 Cropping Season Assessment Report Indicates Decline in Production

The assessment report of the 2019 cropping season indicates a decline in cultivation as well as total yields.

The report indicates that this was as a result of the delay in rainfall at the beginning of the season which was further exacerbated by intermittent dry spells ranging from 18 to 24 days depending on the areas affected.

The report indicated that the erratic distribution pattern in rainfall as manifested by the dry spells led to wilting and scorching of some crops, which was the result during the initial phase of plant development at germination and seedling formation levels in most farms across the country. It added that those that survived the dry spell, had their growth altered with changes in their growth formation, which led to the stunting of some plants whilst others show reduced leaf proliferation, less flowering and later, changes during their reproductive phase.

The report summed that this year's late commencement and low rainfall with prolonged dry spells during the period of crop growth, will be the main reason for low yields. It noted that the five year average of the total area cultivated indicate total coarse grains at 122,248ha; rice at 49,526ha, and all other major cereals at 171,774ha; and 76,459.60ha for the 2019 season.

That in addition, the total area put to production during the 2018 cropping season showed the following: early millet - 67,523ha; late millet - 18,609ha; sorghum - 21,459ha; maize - 29,808ha; upland rice - 53,418ha and lowland rice - 15,482ha, for the whole country.

Comparing this year's cultivated areas to that of 2018, the report indicated a general decrease with the highest being groundnuts which stands at 32% followed closely by maize at 31%; upland rice at 20%, cowpea at 19% and early millet and lowland rice at 16% and 15% respectively.

Due to the late commencement of this year's rainfall and characterized by intermittent dry spells, actual area cultivated compared to what was planned for 2019, there is a slight drop in production.

The reduction is realized in upland and lowland rice which stands at 41% and 50%; 59% for groundnuts and coarse grain crops and finally 48%, 38% and 29% for maize, early and late millet respectively.

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