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Gambia Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture employs a large majority of Gambia's population. It is practiced almost exclusively in small family farms. Most farmers grow both self-catering and peanut crops, which are the country's most important export goods.
Almost half of all cultivated land is occupied by peanuts, a crop imported from Brazil in the 18th century. The harvests are sometimes small due to drought or insect infestation. Around a fifth of the peanuts are consumed in the country, the rest is exported. A considerable part of the harvest is smuggled to Senegal, as the price is often higher there. Cotton and fruit are also grown for export.
The most important food crops are millet, sorghum, corn, rice and cassava. The Gambia, however, is not self-sufficient in food. Especially the need for rice is largely covered by imports and food aid. Rice is traditionally grown in the wetlands along the river, and several projects have been launched to expand the cultivation area by means of irrigation.
One limitation to the irrigation is that the water is salty far up in the Gambia River. Furthermore, tree felling for firewood and animal overgrazing destroys the soil. Dependence on rain is a problem. Less than half of the arable land is cultivated. Furthermore, the harvests are small in a global perspective, and the cultivation methods are old-fashioned.
Many farmers keep cows, goats, sheep and pigs, which contribute to the livelihood.
Fish is also an important part of the diet. Fishing is conducted using traditional methods, both in the river and off the coast. The fishing sector is relatively undeveloped.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
23.0 percent (2017)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
59.8 percent (2016)
"No change in laws against homosexuality"
The government is responding to recent social media rumors that the Gambia is about to decriminalize homosexuality. In a statement it states that the country's attitude to homosexuality "reflects the people's norms" and that there are no plans to change the strict laws that prohibit all acts that can be interpreted as gay. According to the government, the rumors are about a malicious attempt to pick cheap political points.
The Gambia closes borders and airspace
A 70-year-old imam from Bangladesh becomes the first to die of the covid-19 viral disease in Gambia. The man had arrived in The Gambia on March 13 after traveling around several other countries, most recently in Senegal. This leads to the Gambia closing both its airspace and all land borders for 21 days. Authorities say they are searching for 15 people who left the hotel where they were quarantined after coming to the country from the UK.
The Gambia closes schools
The Gambia now gets its first case of the covid-19 viral disease. The infected is a young woman who has returned from the UK. The woman must have quarantined herself after she became ill. The Gambia had already decided before closing all schools for three weeks and that everyone coming from affected countries should be quarantined for two weeks. All events that gather many people have also been banned.
Kimata hardens after protests against Barrow
In connection with the protests against President Adama Barrow earlier in January, signs that the authorities are starting to strike harder against the opposition. Among other things, the government bans the opposition movement Three years jotna (Your three years are over) and accuses it of trying to undermine Barrow's rule, to stand behind the violence and other illegal activities. Representatives of the Gambian press organization GPU criticize the government for how the police intervened against journalists who watched the protest on January 25, and for the decision to close several radio stations and arrest journalists working there. There are fears that the free climate that prevailed during most of Barrow's three-year rule is under threat. It also happens at the same time that Gambia had climbed 30 places on Reporters Without Bordersindex of freedom of the press in the world. However, Pa Modou Bojang, the head of the Home Digital FM radio station, who was arrested in connection with the protest against Barrow, was released after three days following demands from the GPU and several other organizations.
Protests against Barrow trigger unrest
Hundreds of protesters gather in Banjul to protest that Adama Barrow does not intend to step down as president after three years, something he promised at the 2017 election. According to hospital sources, at least three people are killed, which is however denied by the government. Several protesters are injured and 137 people are arrested. Among the arrested are Abdou Njie, leader of Three years jotna (Your three years are over), and the managers of two radio stations. Police are said to have intervened when protesters departed from the permitted route and, according to a government spokesman, then stormed a police barricade at the same time as they accused Barrow of treason.
Protesters demand justice for abuse during Jammeh
Hundreds of Gambians gather in Banjul to demand justice for the assaults committed under Yayha Jammeh's rule from 1994 to 2017. Demonstrators hold up pictures of people killed or disappeared, including journalist Deyda Hydara shot dead by Jammeh's men in 2004 and Solo Sandeng, a political activist who died after being tortured in custody. Since a reconciliation and truth commission began its work in early 2019, 190 witnesses have been heard.
"Jammeh will be arrested if he returns to Gambia"
Gambia's former president Yahya Jammeh will be prosecuted if he returns to his home country. That's what the Gambian Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambado says. The statement comes after Jammeh expressed a desire to return to Gambia, and his supporters demonstrated to demand that he be allowed to return without risking prosecution. Since Jammeh went into exile to Equatorial Guinea in 2017, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission has investigated abuses committed during his 22-year reign: extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrests and other human rights violations.
Demonstrations in support of Adama Barrow
Thousands of Gambians are demonstrating in support of President Adama Barrow remaining in the full five-year term, not resigning as he promised at the 2017 election.