A report to the Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP) by the International Livestock Research Institute in support of The Gambia’s livestock master plan
Karl M. Rich, Sirak Bahta, Abdrahmane Wane, Francis Wanyoike and Isabelle Baltenweck
The Gambia is the smallest country in West Africa, spanning just 11,300 square kilometres, with a high population density (176 people per square kilometre). It shares a single 749-kilometre overland border with Senegal. About 57% of its population is reported to live in urban areas. The total population in The Gambia is expected to gradually rise in the next three decades to approximately 4.3 million people, requiring anticipative policies concerning both infrastructure development and food supply improvement (Nyoni et al. 2019).
The Gambia’s economy relies heavily on the tourism and agriculture sectors. The gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6% in 2019 against a 6.5% growth in 2018, predominantly with an increase of 10% of services supported by wholesale and retail trade while the agriculture sector contracted by 10% (World Bank 2020). The agriculture sector remains too dependent on weather conditions, predominantly traditional and is characterized by low input extensive system of husbandry. Moreover, the Gambian agricultural sector struggles to overcome its key long-term development challenges related to the country’s undiversified economy, small internal market, limited access to resources, lack of skills necessary to build effective institutions, high population growth, lack of private-sector job creation and high rate of outmigration. More specifically, the agricultural sector suffers from a structural inability to produce more and better, respond to increasing demand for livestock products and sustain a better life from livestock. Agricultural productivity in The Gambia remains quite low and, in turn, has significant adverse implications for the economy.
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