Gambia

GIEWS Country Brief: Gambia 04-May-2021

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News and Press Release
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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Land preparation for 2021 cropping season underway

  • Below‑average cereal production harvested in 2020

  • Continued assistance needed for vulnerable people

Land preparation for 2021 cropping season underway

Seasonal dry weather conditions are prevailing across the country and land preparation for the 2021 cropping season is underway. Planting operations for maize are expected to begin in May with the onset of the rains, while planting of irrigated rice, millet and sorghum, will start in June. The harvest of all cereal crops is expected to start in October.

In most pastoral areas, seasonal rains are expected to start in July. Despite the ongoing pastoral lean season, forage availability is overall satisfactory in the main grazing areas of the country. The animal health situation remains overall good and stable, with just some localized outbreaks of seasonal diseases, including Foot‑and‑Mouth disease, Pest Des Petit Ruminant, Contagious Bovine Pleurae Pneumonia and Newcastle disease for poultry.

Below‑average cereal production harvested in 2020

Despite the intervention by the Government and its partners in providing inputs to farmers, the 2020 national cereal production is estimated at 123 000 tonnes, about 9 percent below the average. Strong winds, flash floods and infestation of Fall Armyworms affected crops in some areas. However, the production in 2020 has improved compared to the last two years where the cropping season was characterized by unfavourable rains, with a late start in late July and prolonged break in rains in late August 2020. This resulted in delayed planting and germination failure of crops, leading to extra expenditures for farmers in both 2018 and 2019.

Imports account for over half of the national cereal utilization in the country. Rice accounts for about 70 percent of the overall cereal import requirements, followed by wheat, which accounts for about 20 percent. Import requirements for the 2020/21 (November/October) marketing year are forecast at an above‑average level of 270 000 tonnes as local traders are aiming to replenish their stocks.

Continued assistance needed for most vulnerable people

According to the March 2021 "Cadre Harmonisé" analysis, the aggregate number of severely food insecure people (CH Phase 3: “Crisis” and above) is estimated at about 65 000, down from the 82 000 people estimated in March 2020. If appropriate measures and responses are not implemented, this number is projected to increase to nearly 114 000 people during the next lean season between June and August 2021. The main drivers of food insecurity are the effects of adverse weather events (flooding and strong winds) and Fall Armyworm attacks on crops in some localized areas and the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the value chain.