Posted by / Saturday 31 December 2016 / No comments

Why The Gambia is not able to produce enough Agricultural products

The tenure system
One of the major causes of low agricultural productivity in The Gambia is the type of land tenure system that operates there. The land is owned by the people but held in trust by clan heads. Over the years, the lands have been divided among family members therefore it is difficult to acquire land in commercial sizes for any meaningful agricultural production.

Reluctance to commercially develop the land
Farmers who may be willing to commercially develop the land on a large scale are unwilling to do so because, they are not too sure if their investment is safe. A Gambian business man could irrigate the large track of land that he acquires by lease, for example, but does not know if he would be allowed to extend his lease at the end of its expiration. He fears that the owners might want to take their land back, seeing it has been well resourced.

Lack of funds
Another major factor contributing to low agricultural production in The Gambia is the absence of adequate financial resources to invest in agriculture.  The production of agricultural products is capital intensive. Most farmers in The Gambia do not have the capital they need to inject into the farming business.

The role of commercial banks
The banks in The Gambia are also not willing to extend credit facility to the farmers without demanding the necessary collateral. This is sometimes due to the fear that the investment may be lost if the crops fail. The banks think that extending credit to the farmers is a risky venture so they are reluctant to do so. This is also a problem affecting productivity in the Gambia.

Dependence on rain
Gambian farmers depend on rainfall to produce their crops. Where the rains do not come, it creates problems for the farmers. In some cases, the rains come too early, other times, they come too late and not in the right quantities. Most Gambian farmers cannot afford the cost of irrigating their lands and therefore cannot produce all year round. This also contributes to the low level of agricultural production.

Inadequate pest control
In The Gambia, there are problems with pest control. Sometimes, the pests destroy the farms leading to the loss of entire productions. There are also diseases that affect livestock. Producers of birds and others meat protein products have to deal with animal related diseases. Such problems lower the level of agricultural production in The Gambia.

Post harvest loses
Another source of low agricultural productivity is post harvest loses. There are inadequate storage facilities to store the harvest after production. So after production, some of the harvest gets rotten at the farm-gates especially during bumper harvest. 

1. Account for the factors that affect agricultural productivity in The Gambia.

2. Highlight six factors that contribute to low agricultural productivity in The Gambia.

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