Reference Date: 28-November-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Good 2013 cereal harvest estimated
Access to food continues to be constrained by high food prices and the lingering effects of 2011/12 food crisis
Good 2013 cereal harvests
Harvesting of the 2013 cereal crops was completed in November. Favourable climatic conditions in the main cereal growing regions benefited crops during the growing period:
as a result, aggregate 2013 cereal production has been estimated to have increased by about 5 percent to 229 000 tonnes compared to 2012.
Access to food constrained by high food prices
The Gambia, in a normal year, relies on imports for nearly half of its cereal consumption requirements (mostly rice and wheat) and domestic cereal prices are strongly affected by world prices and the exchange rate of the Dalasi (GMD), the national currency. The Dalasi has depreciated significantly over the past few years, which combined with high international commodity prices, has put an upward pressure on domestic prices of imported food commodities.
The improved domestic harvest position, the adequate supply in most neighbouring countries and the favourable trends in international food exports markets, have led to much improved food availability during the 2012/13 marketing year (November/October). However domestic prices of imported cereals have remained relatively high, reflecting the continued depreciation of the Dalasi. Access to food continues to be difficult for several segments of the population.
Continued assistance is still needed, especially for vulnerable people
The combined effects of the 2011 Sahel Crisis and heavy flooding in July/October 2012 have eroded vulnerable households’ coping mechanisms and resulted in protracted food insecurity in pockets of the country and persisting acute malnutrition.
Despite a recovery in cereal production in 2012 and 2013, access to food continues to be constrained by high food prices and the lingering effects of the Sahel food crisis. Two thirds of households face food insecurity, of which 5.5 percent suffer from ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ food insecurity. Child malnutrition is also a cause of concern: chronic malnutrition ranges between 13.9 and 30.7 percent with North Bank Region and Central River Region surpassing the ’critical’ threshold of 30 percent.