The Implementation of the Gambian Agricultural Development Policy: Lessons from Impact

Agriculture in the Gambia is essentially subsistence oriented and is still largely based on the traditional system of shifting cultivation in small independent farming units. Postindependence agricultural policy focused on institution-building, resulting in a rapid proliferation of government departments and marketing boards. Producer prices were kept low and inputs, notably fertilizer, were heavily subsidized. The response of the agricultural sector to these initiatives was poor. Yields remained practically stagnant and production exhibited a declining trend. The faulty implementation of subsidized credit programmes resulted in regressive income transfer to a small group of influential Gambians who defaulted on large loans, thereby weakening the financial system and leading to the collapse of development banks. Under the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) adopted in 1985 and the Programme for Sustained Development (PSD) which succeeded it in 1990 agricultural input subsidies are being progressively removed to assure long-term policy sustainability, though producer prices are still lower than the free market levels. The policy of agricultural diversification away from dependence on groundnuts for domestic consumption and export earnings generation has so far had only limited impact in terms of acreage allocation. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French.

Title: The Implementation of the Gambian Agricultural Development Policy: Lessons from Impact
Author: Akinboade, Oludele A.
Year: 1994
Periodical: African Development Review
Volume: 6
Issue: 2
Period: December
Pages: 40-69
Language: English
Geographic term: Gambia
External link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8268.1994.tb00059.x
Abstract: Agriculture in the Gambia is essentially subsistence oriented and is still largely based on the traditional system of shifting cultivation in small independent farming units. Postindependence agricultural policy focused on institution-building, resulting in a rapid proliferation of government departments and marketing boards. Producer prices were kept low and inputs, notably fertilizer, were heavily subsidized. The response of the agricultural sector to these initiatives was poor. Yields remained practically stagnant and production exhibited a declining trend. The faulty implementation of subsidized credit programmes resulted in regressive income transfer to a small group of influential Gambians who defaulted on large loans, thereby weakening the financial system and leading to the collapse of development banks. Under the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) adopted in 1985 and the Programme for Sustained Development (PSD) which succeeded it in 1990 agricultural input subsidies are being progressively removed to assure long-term policy sustainability, though producer prices are still lower than the free market levels. The policy of agricultural diversification away from dependence on groundnuts for domestic consumption and export earnings generation has so far had only limited impact in terms of acreage allocation. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French.