The Gambia, officially the Republic of the Gambia, is a country in West Africa almost entirely surrounded by Senegal. The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, home to just fewer than two million people, about half of whom live in poverty. Here are 10 facts about hunger in the Gambia.

10 Facts About Hunger in the Gambia

  1. Approximately one-tenth of the Gambia’s population is food-insecure, and nearly one in three Gambians are vulnerable to food insecurity.
  2. Food insecurity has led to high malnutrition rates. In 2015, 10.3 percent of the population was malnourished.
  3. Malnutrition in the Gambia has resulted in the stunting of growth in 24.9 percent of children.
  4. The country’s high poverty rate contributes to hunger. Nearly half — 48 percent of the population — live below the national poverty line.
  5. The population is growing exceptionally quickly. Since 2003, the population has grown by 36 percent, to almost two million people.
  6. The Gambia is classified as a food-deficit, low-income country. It ranked 175 out of 188 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index.
  7. Due to the Gambia’s climate, the country’s agriculture is particularly susceptible to damage from climate change, with extreme weather events and rising sea levels harming output.
  8. Food costs in the Gambia are increasing. Since domestic cereal production fulfills just 60 percent of demand, the population relies greatly on food imports. As a result, the retail price of imported rice has almost doubled within the past decade.
  9. Like many other impoverished countries, poverty in the Gambia is worse in rural areas. Approximately three-quarters of the rural population lives in poverty.
  10. Women in the country are also facing higher rates of poverty. Women in the Gambia make up more than 50 percent of the agricultural labor force and 70 percent of unskilled laborers. However, lack of access to new technology and land hurt their incomes.

Climate change and increasingly low agricultural output continue to worsen hunger in the country. However, providing the population with new technology to help them become more resilient to environmental changes could help reduce hunger in the Gambia.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr