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Gambia Anticipating Good Cereals Harvest in 2013

Gambia Anticipating Good Cereals Harvest in 2013

13 September 2013

GAMBIA - Good crop harvests are expected in 2013 for Gambia and the food supply situation has improved in 2012/13 compared to the previous year.

Prospects for the 2013 cereal crops, about to be harvested, is favourable following regular and widespread precipitation since the beginning of the growing season in July/August. Millet, sorghum and upland rice crops are developing satisfactorily, while transplanting of swamp rice is underway. Groundnut crops are flowering/pegging countrywide.

In 2012, an above-average harvest was gathered owing to favourable climatic conditions in the main cereal growing regions. According to the final estimates, the 2012 cereal output was estimated at about 218 000 tonnes, 36 per cent higher than the 2011 drought-affected output and four per cent above the average of the past five years.

In 2011, dry spells and poor rainfall distribution during the growing period (July to October) resulted in a 35 per cent decline in cereal production compared to the previous year.

Access to food constrained by high food prices

The Gambia, in a normal year, relies on imports for nearly half of its cereal consumption requirements (mostly rice and wheat) and domestic cereal prices are strongly affected by world prices and the exchange rate of the Dalasi (GMD), the national currency. The Dalasi has depreciated significantly over the past few years, which combined with high international commodity prices, has put an upward pressure on domestic prices of imported food commodities.

The improved domestic harvest position, the adequate supply in most neighbouring countries and the favourable trends in international food exports markets, have led to much improved food availability during the 2012/13 marketing year (November/October). However domestic prices of imported cereals have remained relatively high, reflecting the continued depreciation of the Dalasi. Access to food continues to be difficult for several segments of the population.

Continued assistance is still needed, especially for vulnerable people

Despite the improved overall food situation, a significant portion of the population continues to be food insecure this year mostly as a result of reduced access to food due to high food prices and the lingering effects of 2011/12 food crisis.

Last year, the number of people affected by food insecurity was estimated at about 700 000 people following a poor 2011 cereal production.

TheCropSite News Desk

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