Gambia is the smallest country in West Africa. The population of the country is about 1.5 million people. Gambia is among the poorest countries in the world and ranked in terms of its human development index (HDN) 160th out of 179th countries (HDR 2007)
Despite its small size the country has been experiencing skyrocketing prices of food commodities over the last three years and has reach a critical condition in the first quarter. It has created serious and negative impacts on lives and livelihood. The stable food of the country is rice and it’s what has become more affected by the rise of food prices. The country has the highest per-capita rice consumption among the sahelian countries.
August is always the most difficult time of the year in Gambia, since it’s when most households, especially farming communities and the underprivileged, run out of food. A farmer s will sell his/her implements and other variable assets to have food to survive. Some underprivileged people will get involve in illegal acts to have a daily meal.
The average Gambian population live less than one (1) dollar a day. Most working people earn only 2900 Dalasis(less than $100 per month). It always amazes me to see a family of five or more live on that and managed to get food, shelter, clothing and education for all. How on earth can anyone survive on such income?
The country does not have much industry, mainly due to lack of investment and poor infrastures. Agriculture is the backbone of the economic, mainly based on groundnut exportation, and yet farmers are very poor. This is because there are no available markets to sell their products and situation pushes them into selling it at a cheaper price to enable them have money to cater the needs of their family. This makes it difficult to ensure a Sustainable development.
Questions always flow like sea waves and I wonder: will Gambia get out of the vicious cycle of poverty, with food prices increasing?
High food prices are not a national problem, but also a globally challenge. It’s our responsibility not only a country, but as a global community to get involved in the fight against hunger. Whenever you see someone begging for food, remember how lucky you are and don’t give your back to those who are not: over a billion