In this week’s post, we use data from the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) 2015/16 conducted by The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS). The survey collected information on a variety of topics from approximately 13,000 households. Since the survey was meant to answer questions related to poverty, the selection was skewed towards rural and agricultural households, From the data, we have extracted information in relation to crop production which will be the focus of our discussion. In this week’s post, we want to know which crops are largely grown by farmers, differences in income amongst these crops with a particular focus on income distribution in rice cultivation and rice types.
Table 1 presents a cross tabulation of some of the key crops grown in The Gambia, our concentration will be on average annual income and proportion of growers. Much cannot be said with regards have plots that is cultivated as information on the variation in the sizes of cultivated plots was not reported. There is a general interest within Gambians with particular crops such as groundnut, rice and maize, with most women involved in vegetable gardening. This is evident as data has shown that the top five crops cultivated are groundnut, millet, maize, vegetable and swamp rice, with groundnut being the most popular. About 75% of the surveyed households are engaged in groundnut cultivation. Cotton, banana and oranges amongst other fruits are the least grown; less than 5% of farmers said they grew these crops.
Interestingly, although cashew is cultivated by less than 5% of households, it has featured as the crop with the highest average income of D16,881.17 which can be associated by the high value attached to cashew nuts. We found it surprising that cassava is within the top five highest income crops. This is something we plan to look into further in an upcoming post (leave a comment if you have any possible explanation).
Table 1: Crop Production by Income, Proportion of Growers and Plots
|Crop||Avg Annual Income||Prop Growers||Avg Plots|
Rice is one of the crops that is consumed most by Gambians. That being the case, let us now explore how income earned differs from the production of different types of rice in this survey across LGAs. This information is represented in Figure 1 below. From the Figure, comparing the income from swamp and upland rice production across LGAs, it is reasonable to say that swamp rice has a higher return in all LGAs with the exception of Basse and Kerewan. Income from swamp rice ranges from little above 10,000 in Janjanbureh to below 4,000 in Basse whilst income from upland rice range from little below 8,000 to 4,000 in Kerewan and Mansakonko respectively (information on upland rice in Kerewan was not available). Differences in income between the types of rice is thinner in Mansakonko which is less than a 1,000 and widest in Janjanbureh (where swamp rice does better) and Basse (upland rice being better) with and average difference of 4,500. This makes sense looking at the topology of The Gambia as Janjanbureh is an Island thus encouraging swampy rice cultivation most prominent of these rice fields is the Jahally-Pacharr rice field.
Figure 1: Mean Income by LGA and Rice Type
Let us now take a more detailed look at swamp rice production. Figure 2 is a boxplot of average Income by LGA from swamp rice. The figure allows us to ascertain information in relation to shape of the distribution as well as in variability in income across LGAs. We can say that on average, swamp rice cultivation leads to a greater payoff in Janjanbureh as compared to all other LGAs. This is evident as above 50% of the households engaged in this activity have returns greater that the average nationally. It is interesting to note that as compared to Figure 1 which indicated that income from swamp rice is second highest in Brikama, a more detail look has shown that, about 75% of the households in Brikama have returns a little above 2,500 making swamp rice cultivation in Kuntaur and Kerewan more lucrative, given that a larger percentage of their households fall above the average income. Mansakonko is the LGA that registers the least return with income below average in more than 50% of households farming swamp rice.
Figure 2: Mean Income from Swamp Rice by LGA
From the above analysis we can deduce that, cashew is one of the crops that generates amongst the highest incomes, despite that it is not part of the most cultivated crops. What might be the reason why most people are not involved in cashew production? Does it have to do with the cost of production or are there more prominent reasons why cashew cultivation is not taken up? What can be done to encourage all year-round rice cultivation to tighten the income gap across regions for rice cultivation?