ENHANCING FOOD SECURITY AND THE INCOME OF FARMERS

This column is devoted to monitor and report on issues that relate to production, processing, preservation andKumbaSanyang marketing of Agricultural products with the ultimate goal of ensuring food security in the Gambia as well as the interventions of Government and Non-governmental Organizations.

In this edition and subsequent editions, Farmers’ Eye will focus on the Agricultural Programmes and projects to show where we are in our drive to ensure food security.

Farmers’ Eye has been touring the country talking to the farming communities regarding their constraints and the way forward in ensuring food security in the Gambia and they have repeatedly been saying that there cannot be food security in the Gambia without increased productivity and there cannot be increased productivity in the absence of farm implements, fertilizer and enough water for the
crops supported by processing and storage facilities.

The seven major crops grown in The Gambia are groundnuts, the coarse grains (millet, maize, and sorghum), as well as rice, Alasana Saballysesame, findo.   An estimated 197,856 people were involved in the production of the seven food crops, which thus provide both a source of employment and livelihood.

In 2014, 78,469.05 ha of early millet was cultivated , Late Millet 22,360.54ha, Maize 36,703.80ha, Sorghum 27235.18ha, Upland Rice 50082.23ha, Swampland Rice 16204.26ha, Groundnuts 81,026.53 ha, Sesame 2074.58ha and Findo510.05ha.

The total area cultivated in the 2014 cropping season for the seven major crops grown in The Gambia is 315,141.68ha.

In 2014, 59,116.33mt of early millet was cultivated , Late Millet 17,700.72mt , Sorghum 20,289mt, Maize 30,289.39mt, Upland Rice 32301mt , Swampland Rice14,373mt, Groundnuts 80,653mt, Sesame 1779.41mt and Findo396.33mt.

The total production for the 2014 cropping season for the seven major crops stood at 257,287mt

Agricultural statistic reveal the number of Field managers(Farmers) for the respective crops and they are as follows:- that in 2014, the Early millet 33,569 farmers, Late millet 12,117, Sorghum 10,586 , Maize 30,650, Upland rice 34,758, , Swampland Rice 8,884, Groundnut 75,414.

It is common knowledge that farmers derive income from their agricultural activities.

However, groundnut is the most dominant one as it engages more people than any other crop. Rice, which is a staple food, engaged less than the number of people cultivating millet and maize.