The Gambia - Agriculture

The soil is mostly poor and sandy, except in the riverine swamps. On upland soils the main food crops, besides groundnuts, are millet, manioc, corn, and beans. Most landholdings range between five and nine hectares (12 and 22 acres). Agriculture supports about 80% of the active population, and contributed about 40% of GDP in 2001. Irregular and inadequate rainfall has adversely affected crop production in recent years.

The principal cash crop is groundnuts, grown on some 111,000 hectares (275,000 acres). Production totaled 126,000 tons in 1999. That year, the paddy rice crop was estimated at 29,000 tons. Other food crops in 1999 included an estimated 21,000 tons of corn and 76,000 tons of millet. Mangos, bananas, oranges, pawpaws, and limes are grown mainly in the Western Division. Oil palms provide oil for local consumption and kernels for export; palm oil production was estimated at 2,000 tons in 1999, and kernels at 3,000 tons.

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