Overview, scope and methods
The Gambia is the smallest country in continental Africa (11,295 sq km) with an estimated 1.7 million inhabitants and an annual population growth rate of 2.7 percent. The climate is Sudano-Sahelian (semi-arid) with an average annual rainfall of about 860 mm. Main climatic shocks include heavy rainfalls and flash floods during the rainy season (June – October).
The Gambia is classified as a Least Developed, Low Income Food Deficit Country, currently ranked 151st out of 169 countries according to the 2010 Human Development Index. Approximately 53 percent of the population are living below the US$2 per day poverty line. The economy is relatively undiversified with economic growth averaging 5-6 percent in 2004-2009. Foreign exchange earnings are based primarily on groundnut exports, tourism and remittances.
Domestic cereal production, particularly in the form of subsistence agriculture, accounts for only up to 60 percent of annual consumption requirements by the majority of the population. In addition, weak purchasing power and a heavy reliance on food imports make The Gambia’s population highly vulnerable to external shocks (price fluctuations), primarily to the detriment of food security and poverty levels