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Agriculture and Growth Nexus in Gambia

Agriculture is a major engine for the economic well-being of the Gambia. The successive governments from the colonial periods to the present have all recognized this importance of the agricultural sector. But most of their policies could not bear any fruit, because they were working against natural laws. They, in many instances encouraged slash and burn technology and putting increasingly more people onto the land instead of increasing the yields per acre. More people than before do remain still on the land, but they are now poorer than their forefathers. Their forefathers had one person to an acre producing on average 1100 kg per acre. Today, there are two persons to an acre producing the same 1100 kg per acre. Using autoregressive and vector error correction techniques to examine the growth-agriculture relation in the Gambia for the period from 1966 to 2009, it is found that the capital per worker is a significant and relevant factor input for the economic growth. The agricultural labor per acre is found to be irrelevant in both the short run and the long run analyses. The agricultural productivity measured as crop yields per acre is the most important variable for the economic growth in the Gambia. It boosts both the economic growth and the capital formation in the country. The agricultural policies should be focused on increasing the crop yields per acre not having more people back to the land. The processing, services and small manufacturing sectors should be developed and built into the agricultural policies in order to create redeployments for the agricultural labor surpluses

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