The agricultural sector is crucial to The Gambian economy, employing over two-thirds of the labour force, and accounts for a third of the country’s GDP. About 91 percent of the extremely poor and 72 percent of the poor in The Gambia are in the agricultural sector. Over 60 percent of the population falls below the overall poverty line and 40 percent below the food poverty line. Agriculture particularly the groundnut subsector is one of the principal foreign exchange earners for the country.
Any programme, aiming to raise the living standards of Gambians and reducing poverty should strengthen and develop this sector as it defines the Gambian economy. Yet, just like most other sectors, this important sector suffered immense setbacks and decline under the APRC regime, due to wrong and misplaced policies. In 2014, it registered a decline of 7.2 percent, leading to a GDP decline of 20 percent.
Tractors and farm implements are politicized at the expense of the poor farmers particularly women. Women are promised farm inputs but they end up not getting any instead they end up in presidential farmlands where their labor is being exploited.
- My government would improve agriculture by creating subsidies to motivate farmers to produce, post-harvest technologies will be provided and cooperatives will be created to facilitate for farmers agricultural needs.
- Agricultural inputs will be made available to farmers to increase their yields on their own farmlands. We will open up market outlets for the sale of agricultural produce and negotiate better prices for their groundnuts.
- The fisheries sector will be given high priority and coastal areas will be encouraged to engage in this sector. Marketing of their produce will be a priority for my government.
- Agricultural services will be improved by strengthening the capacity of agricultural extension workers. Mixed farming centers will be replicated for agricultural demonstration to increase the farming techniques for farmers across the country. Horticulture, aquaculture and animal husbandry will be encouraged and women will be given all the opportunity to achieve their objectives.