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 in 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 Ruminants).
Most of the cattle breeds are either zebus or tsetse
resistant ndamas (a cross between the zebu & the
West African Dwarf).
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.
Vital Statistics of Livestock Units:
|Sheep & Goats
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:
The rearing method used is mainly traditional and most
production is targeted at the domestic market.
Overall 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 diseases.
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
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 farmers.
See the PDF file 'Livestock Briefs' from the FAO
Department of Livestock Services
Tel: 4228545, 4222087