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Country Briefs

  Gambia

Reference Date: 19-March-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Below-average cereal production gathered in 2018

  2. Moderate economic growth projected, food price inflation slightly increasing

  3. Continued assistance needed for vulnerable people

Below-average harvest gathered in 2018

The 2018 agricultural season was characterized by late onsets of rains across all the regions, periodic dry spells and emergence of Fall Armyworm. This has resulted in delayed sowing of plants at critical periods of crop development and led to re-sowing, which caused some additional costs for farmers as they purchased seeds. The 2018 national cereal production was estimated at 89 000 tonnes, about 52 percent below the average of the previous five years and 27 percent below last year. The major declines were observed in rice and millet production.

Imports account for over half of the national cereal utilization in the country. Rice accounts for about 70 percent of the import requirements, followed by wheat, which accounts for about 20 percent. Import requirements for the 2018/19 (November/October) marketing year are forecast at 250 000 tonnes, slightly below 2017/18, but above the last five-year average.

Moderate economic growth projected, food price inflation slightly increasing

According to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the economy is expected to continue its recovery at a rate of 4.8 percent in 2019, although slightly below the 5.4 percent recorded in 2018. The economic growth will be supported by sustained increases in public investment, in relation to the robust inflows of foreign aid and the development of tourism. In 2019, the year-on-year food price inflation is forecast at 6.9 percent, slightly up from the 6.5 percent recorded in 2018 due to the impact of proposed rises to civil servants' salaries in the 2019 budget, the effect of faster exchange rate depreciation and a fall in international oil prices (fuel is the country's third largest import).

Humanitarian assistance needed for most vulnerable people

Due to the decline in crop production, farmers’ own stocks are expected to run out earlier than usual. As a result, farmers would resort to the markets for their food purchases in a context of increasing prices of basic food commodities. Some vulnerable households with limited access to food still need external food assistance. According to the November 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 99 000 people are estimated to be in need of food assistance from October to December 2018, with a significant increase from 45 000 food insecure in March-May 2018. This number is expected to increase to 189 000 during the period June to August 2019, if no mitigation actions are taken.

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