Livestock Sector in
A recent agricultural census held in the early part of the first
decade reveals that 74 percent of farmers rear poultry. About 40
percent of farmers reported having cattle, compared to 38 percent for
sheep and 58 percent for goats. The largest number of cattle is found
Basse (URD) and WRD. Major species of livestock in Gambia include cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys,
chickens and pigs. Poultry and small ruminant management activities
have a high low productivity rate and high mortality combined with
yearly epidemics of Newcastle Disease and PPR (Peste des Petits
Most of the cattle breeds are either zebus or tsetse
resistant ndamas (a cross between the zebu & the West African Dwarf).
Vital Statistics of Livestock Units:
|Sheep & Goats
The livestock production system in Gambia contributes about 25% of annual
agricultural GDP and 5% of total national GDP. From 1980 the economic
contribution of the livestock sector to the Gambia's GDP has
progressively increased from 4% to 5.5% with the monetary value
realized by the sector increasing from D18.1 million in 1982 to D28.3
million in 1996.
Gender Ownership of Ruminants:
Women play a major role in
small ruminant production, representing 52% of the owners of sheep ,
67% of the owners of goats and 43% of the owners of both sheep and
goats. The average number of animals owned is quite low (about six
head of sheep and goats each, out of which about three are breeding
females). Most of the breeding males are born in their respective
flock and there are fewer breeding bucks than breeding rams.
Methods of Rearing:
method used is mainly traditional and most production is targeted at
the domestic market.
traditional production is widespread and subsistence
in nature, with value laid more on the total numbers owned rather than the
economic values of stock. Livestock management is mainly extensive
pasture based form of rearing. In this regard the animals are
essentially free-range on harvested croplands during the dry season
being tethered in the evenings and limited to restricted areas or
tethered during the harvesting season.
Over the years
livestock production has become more sedentary in nature although,
brief management is still being practiced on a limited basis in some
pastoral areas, especially in the CRD (Central River Division).
During the non-rainy period as well as in bad years cattle move
between the floodplains and the woodland savanna in search of water,
greener pastures and to reduce the risk of outbreaks of cattle
Ruminants such as sheep and goats a mainly sedentary being kept in
private compounds during the night time.
Draught / Working Animals:
Herdsman manage draught animals such as oxen, horses, donkeys and
milking cows through the semi-intensive rearing system. During the
rains when such livestock is resting they are usually tied on field to
graze. During the dry season they are hand fed with straw or other
Ram Fattening & Dairy Production:
In more recent times intensive management of small ruminants
and dairy cattle has taken place. During the 1990s projects
for dairy cattle production and ram fattening were set up.
The ram fattening was designed to increase non-crop income
for farmers via intensive feeding methods before the Tobaski
Feast. The compound based dairy project was designed for farm
milk production and the cow dung to be used to fertilize their
fields. The Department of Livestock Services is also promoting
increased, village-based milk pasteurization packaging and
marketing of milk, and milk products, particularly with women
See the PDF file 'Livestock Briefs'
from the FAO
Department of Livestock Services
Tel: 4228545, 4222087