Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Gambia

Geographical situation of GambiaGambia is a small country located on the western coast of Africa, with a narrow coast on the Atlantic Ocean. Its climate is semi-arid tropical with a long dry season from November to May, and a short rainy season from June to October. Agriculture accounted for 32% of the GDP in 2004. The major agricultural commodities are groundnuts, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, palm kernels, vegetables, and livestock, along with fisheries and forestry.

Plant breeding activities have mostly been conducted by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), formerly called the Department of Agricultural Research, which is the sole institution in the Gambia with a mandate to do crop research. The majority of the varieties used in the country are old improved varieties or traditional varieties. Improved materials have not yet been found that combine acceptable consumer quality and higher yield than local varieties.

The breeding approach used relies mostly on introductions of new germplasm from International Agricultural Research Centers (such as WARDA, IITA, IRRI, CIMMYT, ICRISAT and others) and evaluating their local adaptation to farmers’ conditions in the country. Hybridization was used on a limited scale to generate segregating materials for rice and maize but no varieties have been released from these so far. Plant breeding activities were mainly centred on the major arable crops in the country.

A major problem that NARI has not been able to alleviate over the past two decades is the lack of breeders in its Research Programs. NARI cites lack of funding as the major bottleneck to training and retaining plant breeders.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding


National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI)

Established in 1994, the NARI is a public institute and the sole institution in the Gambia active in plant breeding and crop improvement. It is a member of the System-wide Information Network for Genetic Resources (SINGER) of the International Agricultural Research Center System.


Information by Mustapha Ceesay(2008) - Information based on the Gambia's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 20-07-2009, GIPB