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1.0 Overview
The Gambian Agriculture Sector is characterized by subsistence-rain-fed mixed-crop (mainly groundnuts, coarse grains, and rice) farming, and traditional livestock rearing. This type of farming system is carried out mainly by small-scale resource poor farmers who use labor-intensive traditional production practices (usually Fragmented). The farming system, in general, results in low yields.
As part of a larger sub regional initiative, The Planning Services unit in collaboration with WFP and FAO administered a questionnaire in two different markets, Banjul and Serrekunda, the National Abattoir at Abuko and the Fish market at Tippa Garage. The questionnaire was used to gather data on levels of current stocks and supply, transportation of goods from source to outlets, market flow of commodities, prices, demand and supply etc.

2.0 Findings
2.1 Availability
Very similar to 2015, maize and millet are available in abundant quantities in the markets and a lot more is expected to be received later on this year. In view of the merchants interviewed, the late arrival of stocks of cereal can be attributed to the fact that most of the processing machinery operating in the Gambia are owned by Senegalese and since Senegal has a good harvest this year there machines are pre-occupied threshing their own first. Over the past five years, the availability of maize and millet has appeared relatively constant, except in crop failure years, when decreased in their production was significantly noticeable.
Groundnut (cash crop) is available in the market but in very limited quantities, much lower than what was available during the same period last year. Over the years, the merchants have noticed a decreasing trend in the availability of groundnuts
Rice is the main staple crop and it is produced throughout the country. The introduction of Nerica Variety, which is a short duration species, has resulted in the multiplication of rice produce, thus resulting in increase in rice production throughout the country. Therefore local rice is available in the market, more than the same period last year and even much more that the 5 year average. Imported rice is also available in abundance in the markets, at a relatively steady quantity compared to the last five years
2.2 Livestock and livestock products
Livestock and livestock products, mainly cows, sheep and goats are available in all the markets. Most of the livestock that are sold in the markets are from Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania.
In the fish market stocks are available in the markets but the availability generally depend on the catches. The main sources of their catches are Tanji and Brufut, which are along the coast and with 10km- 15km of
the market. Fish is available throughout the year, some of the high value of fish doesn’t normally enter the market and they are normally exported to Senegal, Europe and USA. The consumers are also unable to afford the high value fish so they tend to settle for pelagic and lower value fish. It has been observed that levels of fish supply have decreased over the past few years.
Generally the proportion of commodities supply in the markets is as follow: Millet (60%), Maize (20%) and Groundnut (20%). Millet always have the highest proportion in the market follow by Maize and groundnut. Palm oil is more expensive this year compared to last year and even more expensive compared to the last five years.
Most of the commodities especially cereals come from the north, south and upper part of the country. Supplies also come from Senegal. Some of the local commodities are purchased from Lumos (weekly markets) from (URR, CRR, NBR), Farm gates and Wholesale Markets (Picton, Sandika in Banjul and Serrekunda Market). These are transported to the urban markets, normally via vans, trucks, horse carts and wheel barrows. Cost of transportation has increased over the past years. In addition to increasing cost of road transportation, the ferry is also very expensive and time consuming and this has negative impact on the cost of transportation. It has been observed that from the last 5 years transportation is increasing and it’s also contributed in the negative impact of the cost of goods. Some of the transporters are mainly Senegalese and they demand CFA for the goods coming from the border. The distance from Basse is 200km to 400km away from the city. The cost of transportation for a truck to load a bag of goods is costing D60.00 per bag and its load about 200 to 300 bags. Vans or taxi baggers also load about 40 to 50 bags at a cost of D40.00 per bag and it can also contained more depending on the side of the trucks or van.
The commodities are used by households mainly for consumption. Other uses of cereals are by farmers for seed (input), petty trading and social functions such as weddings such as wedding ceremonies. Livestock and livestock related products are also bought and individual and local businesses such as butcheries.
The fish demand has lowered compared to last year by this period and it is demand more during the past 5years. Some of the factors are purchasing power and bulks of it are bought by the Chinese occasionally (not significant). Demands for cereals have remained stable over the years.
Generally, an increasing trend in the cost of cereals, livestock and fish has been observed over the past five years. Comparing 2015 and 2016 however, slight differences in process have been observed. For example, the cost price for millet this year is D45.00 compared to last year is lowered at a price of D40.00 in the same period. For livestock, the price for a truck to load cattle is at a cost of D500.00 per cattle this year and last year is D350.00 per cattle, sheep also is bit higher compared to last year and it is costing D125.00 per sheep.