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Envisioning Poultry meat self-sufficiency and youth empowerment in the Gambia

Creating a partnership to work together to close the gap in poultry meat insufficiency in 2050 by empowering youths as poultry farmers

Photo of Toyosi Adekunle Van Wie
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Global Innovation Brokers

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

We work with a number of organizations along the value chain for poultry as well as other service or support sector. These include: 1. Finish Profiles Prefab ( large Company); producing modified cages for broiler production 2. SARDIS Gambia Limited ( Large Company) providing feed for broiler production and Day Old Chicks for Broiler production 3. Genesis Farms and Farm ( Small Company)Products as output market outlet. 4. Department of Livestock Services ( National Government) ; Government Agency providing capacity building (Technical) 5. Global Innovation Brokers (Small NGO)providing downstream marketing and business and life skills training. Global Innovation Brokers also coordinates the Program. 6. Ministry of Agriculture

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

The Gambia

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

We are developing the Vision for the whole of The Gambia which is 11300 Km square

What country is your selected Place located in?

The Gambia

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We have been working in the agricultural sector in this country for 6 years.  During this period, we developed the climate smart and youth friendly production system for poultry and pilot tested it with 300 youths.  This was in partnership with the African Development Bank.  During this initial proof of concept activity, we learnt a lot of lessons which we are now applying as we move into the scaling up phase with this new Vision.  The stakeholders are all active on the ground here and we have been working on this theme for three years. They have participated before on value chain work in the poultry sector which is definotely ad advantage.

The youths also are familiar with the program, they love it and want to participate in the scaling up phase.  Value chain players have already developed established contacts for quality inputs which is am advantage.  The other advantage is that the Government and the people have a definite positive action for projects related to youth empowerment and food security.  

It is worthy of note that we have worked with the stakeholders to conduct foresight studies with futurecasting and backward casting activties all of which feed into this program.  We have also worked with them omn Innovation Paltform as a forum for conducting systems work.

Finally, we are attracted to The Gambia with this Vision of creating jobs for youths for the attainment of food and nutritional security  because the youths of the Gambia contsitute the highest group of illegal immigrants in Europe today.  Implementing this program, will reverse this trend.

In conclusion, we have in the Gambia with this program, a veritable program that is people centered, with future casting and with a systems approach. The potential impact is great for the people and will serve as an example for the sub-region and the whole continent.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Gambia is located on the west coast of Africa. Agriculture is the main stay of the economy but the main foreign exchange earnings come from tourism and remittances from Gambians in Diaspora.   Gambia is surrounded on three sides by Senegal with an outlet on the western part where it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The River Gambia runs through the length of the country and divides the country into two.

The country has a sub-tropical climate characterized by a long dry season (November to June) and a short wet season (July to October). Rainfall varies from 800 mm a year inland to 2,200 mm in the coastal areas.  Rainfall is becoming increasingly unpredictable. The Gambia is one of the most vulnerable countries in Africa in respect of the adverse impacts of climate change. Unfortunately, these unpredictable negative occurrences have become a regular feature of the agricultural economy of the Gambia, with untold repercussions for food security. Rice is the staple food of The Gambia, with a current consumption of 117kg per capita and annual consumption of 220,247MT. Today, domestic rice production accounts for about 23% of the national requirement.  Other commodities that are eaten by the people of the Gambia include sorghum, which they convert to couscous, cowpea, sweet potato and cassava.  Major source of protein is fish which is taken from the ocean.  This is followed by poultry for which local production is far behind consumption and an average annual importation of about 11,000 MT is needed.  Other sources of protein that are less important include cattle. 

With a population of about 2 million, expected to grow at approximately 3.1% per annum, the country has an area of 11,285 square kilometers giving it an average population density of about 150 inhabitants per square kilometer. Life expectancy is about 59 years and infant mortality rate is estimated at 57 per 1,000 births.  Fifty one percent (51%) of this population is concentrated in the capital region, known as the Greater Banjul Area. The Gambia has a predominantly youthful population (75% below the age of 25), while the country’s natural resource base and employment opportunities are extremely scarce.

Major language groups in The Gambia include The Mandikas who are about 40% of the population, the Fulas, the Serres , the Jolas, Sarrahules,and the Wollof.  English is the Lingual Franca and the language of official business. 

Agriculture is the main stay of the economy while the bulk of the foreign exchange earned in the country come from the tourism sector and also from remittances from Gambians in the Diaspora. 

Hunger and malnutrition are widespread in the Gambia and improvement of local production of poultry products will help conserve foreign exchange and improve nutritional balance of the populace which largely aspires for self-sufficiency. 

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Gambia is food insufficient and this accompanied by hunger and malnutrition.  There is also widespread poverty and environmental degradation.  This is one dimension of the challenges we face today.  At the same time, demography is rapidly changing in the Gambia.  Today, we have about 75% of the population under the age of 35 years and most of them (about 80%) are jobless, underemployed or misemployed.  The latter challenge is creating a lot of social tension in the country but a combination of both spells doom for the populace. 

At the root of all these we have traditional challenges which have now been compounded by the vindictive climate change with resultant conditions that make poultry production a nightmare.  Input market is currently disorganized for poultry.  There is no guarantee of supply for any of the inputs including feed, Day Old Chicks and medication in the required quantity.  Getting the required quality is also frequently a problem forcing the farmers to make do with whatever they could get without guarantee of good yield.   Farmers also have poor access to training to enable them produce to meet market standard. After production, farmers usually working as individuals also do not have individual capacity and ability to maximize output market benefits.

Poultry farmers are also ageing, with average age at 60 years making it imperative to encourage youths to replace them.  Getting the youths to embrace agriculture and stay in it remains a challenge today. 

These challenges affected food production and there is now a shortage in the local production of staples, a situation that is augmented by massive importation.  Today, The Gambia has an annual gap of 11000Mt of poultry meat that is augmented by importation. 

This has a direct negative impact on dietary proteins and the economics of the people who sink deeper and deeper into poverty because majority of them depend on agriculture.   Prevailing poverty also pushes the population into environmental degradation as demonstrated by overgrazing and non-sustainable land use.   Lack of capital puts a ceiling on the ability of the people to adopt technology to improve efficiency.  The outcome of all these has telling effect on the culture of the people as the youths develop the proclivity to emigrate outside the country including through illegal means.   As the government attempts to solve the attendant social problems, policies are targeted at secondary outcomes rather than the primary causes.  This is a self-reinforcing cycle of poverty. 

The Gambia is expected to experience more challenges to its agriculture, more unevenly distributed and erratic rainfall, more unpredictable or severe flash floods, more unpredictable return on investment as the country advances towards 2050.  This will create untold hardship for a population that is already stressed.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our Vision is to address the problem of lack of self-sufficiency in poultry meat in the Gambia.  This will be done by empowering hitherto jobless youths to emerge as poultry farmers to produce poultry meat to fill the gap.  Producing poultry meat directly improves the food supply, dietary conditions and the economy of participants.  It also produces organic manure that helps the environment through soil fertility improvement leading to higher yields in other commodities. 

Problems associated with the quality and quantity of inputs will be addressed by our program through the Innovation Platform which will be set up for the planning and implementation.  Innovation Platform will be formed to bring all stakeholders together on a platform for constant discussion for co-planning and co-implementation.  Stakeholders that have capacity to supply the quantities and qualities of inputs required for the program will be invited to the Platform.   They will be joined by a capable output market player as well as a capable processing agency.  These will be complemented by participants from the Government Livestock Unit and by representatives of Government for policies issues.  The Livestock Unit provides support for capacity building to meet market to enable farmers produce to meet market standard while the representative of the Government provides policy support.  Capacity building will be required for technical, environmental and entrepreneurial sustainability. 

Innovation Platform is a people oriented mechanism to ensure efficiency in production and marketing as well as feedback for policy development to guarantee profitability, and keep the youths in farming. 

The challenge of keeping youths in agriculture will be partly addressed by the use of Innovation Platform that keep the business profitable and partly by the use of Climate Smart cages for production. 

The production system will further be made to be youth friendly in order to succeed in retaining the youths in poultry farming.  This entails the use of specialized prefabricated cages that combine useful features to reduce the inside-cabin temperature and reduce drudgery. 

When the participants start to make good income from poultry, many factors will be positively impacted.  Food supply will increase and dietary protein will also increase.  Besides, participants will start to walk out of poverty with demonstrable increase in disposable incomes.  With increasing income levels, they stop to consider drifting outside the country through illegal emigration.  This will be a major cultural shift.  In addition, through the groups that will be set up, feedback with be obtained to inform policies that will further sustain the program.  Increase in poultry production also directly increases poultry manure for environmental improvement. 

As the participating youths benefit, other associated stakeholders also benefit through the sales on the Innovation Platform. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The Innovation Platform which is a people oriented approach, utilizing solutions like the youth and climate friendly production systems will lead to increase in productivity of the poultry sector and a direct increase in local production of poultry meat. 

At the beginning, stakeholders will come together to conduct foresight studies which will combine future casting with back casting in planning the scope and type of work required in meeting objectives.  Future casting will determine ultimate vision by 2050 which is attainment of full self-sufficiency in poultry meat production in the Gambia.  This milestone will form the bedrock of backcasting to determine the type and scope of work to be done from stage to stage in order to achieve the set objective. 

Increase in local production of poultry meat will start to progressively reduce supplementation through importation towards 2050.  By 2050, the gap is expected to have been fully filled.  As the local production increases, and supplementation reduces, poultry meat will become more affordable to the local population.  This will reduce hunger and poverty among the people.  Correspondingly, diet and the income levels of participants will also increase and participants will start to move out of poverty and into middle income level bracket. 

Closing the gap requires the production of at least 11,000 MT of meat which will also have positive effect on the upstream market for maize and fishmeal both of which are component of the feed.   This directly takes more youths out of poverty. 

Reduced supplementary importation reduces foreign exchange spent on importation thereby improving the economy of the nation.  When the economy of the nation improves and a reasonable number of people have moved into the middle income level,  more direct foreign investment is attracted into the nation. 

Overall, thousands of youths are empowered and are oved out of poverty , leading to less illegal emigration and social tension. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The Vision of our program is to attain sustainable self-sufficiency in poultry meat production by the year 2050.  The objectives are as follows: 

•          Empower 100 youths as start-up poultry farmers and invariably increase to 2000 youths to commence broiler production using youth friendly and climate smart production system

•          Produce tons of broilers to start to reduce existing gap between locally produced poultry meat and local consumption of poultry meat. 

•          Enhance partnerships and linkages that will strengthen producers of Day Old Chicks and, and reliable feed for the project

•          Facilitate marketing of broilers through the strengthening of both fresh and frozen markets

       Empower local fabricators to produce 2000 units of the youth friendly production housing units

       Trigger revolution in the upstream sector particularly with the production of maize and fish for the feed requirement for the project.   

This entails the use of many tested solutions.  We have the Innovation Platform which is a tested human centered system focused approach that ensures profitability for all participants.  It entails the use of equally tested production system which is both youth friendly and climate smart.  This system uses specially designed prefabricated cages which are also tested.  

Problems of the poultry sub sector are multifarious and interconnected.  This demands the use of a systems approach which brings together all implicated stakeholders involved in the chain for poultry from production to marketing working with others that provide tangential services including capacity building and policy.  They will be invited into an Innovation Platform which will plan and implement the program. 

These include:

  •  Representatives of participating youths
  • Finish Profiles Prefab ( large Company); producing modified cages for broiler production
  • SARDIS Gambia Limited ( Large Company) providing feed for broiler production and Day Old Chicks for Broiler production
  • Genesis Farms and Farm Products (Small Company) as output market outlet. 
  • Department of Livestock Services ( National Government)  ; Government Agency providing capacity building (Technical)
  • Global Innovation Brokers (Small NGO)providing downstream marketing and business  and life skills training.  Global Innovation Brokers also coordinates the Program. 
  • Representatives of the Government for Policy

Implementation commences with foresight studies accompanied by future casting and backscasting to determine the scope of the work as well as the milestones which serve to inspire the participants towards the landmark for 2050.  Futurecasting will encapsulate the desire and aspiration of the people for the year 2050 regarding poultry meat production to meet local demands.  In Backcasting, participants will work backwards to determine milestones which details notches on the ladder that serve to keep the aspiration of the participants up.  Interaction within the Innovation Platform ensures that quality inputs are supplied on timely basis to the participants. 

With the participation of the Government, 100 youths will be selected to participate in the program each of who will be provided with a prefabricated cage that is youth friendly and climate smart.

Selected participants will be provided with capacity building covering areas of technical poultry production, entrepreneurial skills and environmental sustainability.  Capacity building helps participants who are mostly new entrants into agriculture to master the technical skills of poultry production.  After the training, they will be provided with inputs and be followed through the process from production to marketing.  Follow through process ensures that the new farmers are hand held until they are comfortable as poultry farmers.   This allows the approach to attain its transformative potential.    Mature birds will be processed using mobile processing units and storage and sales will follow. 

Innovation Platform will meet periodically to review progress and make necessary adjustments.  It will also make feedback to Government for policy formulation.  Overall, Innovation Platform allows for efficient planning, follow through and implementation of the program in a way that makes it profitable and encouraging to the youths. Innovation Platform is rooted in the community and is managed by community members.  Implementation will be done within the community and will be absolutely in the hands of the people. 

The next question is how all these will impact the six thematic areas which are interconnected.  Starting with economics, we anticipate a direct impact.  Empowering jobless farmers as poultry farmers to produce poultry meat for a ready market improves the economy of the participants.  They benefit directly by experiencing profits leading to increase in their disposable income.  Disposable income for each participant is envisaged to move from zero to 200 Dollars in one month.  This will take them out of poverty and reduce hunger for them and their close family members.  This also makes it possible for them to commence a repayment of the support which will be provided as repayable loans. Repayment makes it possible for other youths to be engaged.  Improvement in individual economies invariably improves national economy.  Ultimately in 2050 a few thousands would have been engaged increasing the total figure of youths coming out of poverty and playing their roles within the community to increase direct external investment.  This can put the nation on the path of economic development. 

The diet of the people is also improved directly as a result of increase in local production of poultry meat which makes the meat cheaper for the populace to afford.     This affects the participants and a wide range of people who eat poultry meat across the nations.  As increasing poultry production improves the economy of the people and dietary proteins, it also improves the environment.  This is done not through its direct product but through its bye product, chicken dung, which is used as manure to boost the production of other commodities in The Gambia.  Improving the economies of youths also reduces the army of people that devastate the environment through deforestation.  In terms of technology, the program uses specialized prefabricated cages which have been made to climate smart.  This ensures that production is not limited by the changing climate.   The Policy is also affected positively through the feedback activities of the Innovation Platform.  From time to time and as the Platform members meet to review progress, they also discuss policy suggestions to sustain their work and its profitability. 

Better tuned policies improve profitability of the system which further affects the economics, the diet and environment and with continuous activity, more policies are developed.    Finally, when youths start to make money from agriculture, they think less of illegal emigration which has evolved as a negative culture in recent times. 

Our approach and indeed the whole program is built on the aspirations of The people and the Government of the Gambia for improved inclusiveness in the planning and implementation of agricultural programs.  It has been inspired largely by the work of local and International Agencies.  On one hand, it was influenced by a recent project which we implemented recently with the Africa Development Bank and the Government of the Gambia where we tested the Climate Smart cages with youths.  Current program is built from the lessons learned from this proof of concept program.  We have also been influenced greatly by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovations especially on their work on the use of Collective Actions for the resolution of uphill challenges which go beyond individual partner’s capacity.  This theory itself was directly influenced by the work of the Forum for Agricultural Research In Africa (FARA) on Innovation Platforms. 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Emmanuel Dzisi

We have similar challenges in Ghana. It would be great to find a common solution to our common problems.
Great work you are doing for your country. All the best from Agbenoxevi Farms in Ghana.