Abdoulie G. Dibba
As government pronouncements target 2016 for the Gambia’s attainment of food self-sufficiency, the country, in 2013, has spent D1, 320,373,000 (One billion, three hundred and twenty million, three hundred and seventy-three thousand Dalasi) on the importation of rice, according to official figures on the overview of the Gambia’s external trade in 2013 from the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS).
Given that the Gambia produces less than 15% of its requirements in rice, the staple food, as indicated in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy, a much robust, effective and urgent intervention strategy is thus needed to accelerate this low productivity in order for the country to be food self sufficient, two years from now in fulfillment of the 2016 target.
Official figures on Gambia’s external trade in 2013 indicate that D133,959,000 (One hundred and thirty-three million, nine hundred and fifty-nine thousand Dalasi) was spent on the importation of rice from the EU countries such as Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and others.
In the same year 2013, the same report reveals that Gambia has also spent D313,208,000 (Three hundred and thirteen million, two hundred and eight thousand Dalasi) on rice importation from the Asian countries such as China, Turkey, India, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Malaysia and others.
Another amount of D452,446,000 (Four hundred and fifty-two million, four hundred and forty-six thousand Dalasi) was also spent in the same year on the importation of rice from countries in the Americas, mainly Brazil, United States, Uruguay, Peru, Canada, Paraguay and others
The Gambia therefore spends more than 1.3 billion Dalasi on rice importation from countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas.