The Gambia presents an environment system with a high degree of fragility and vulnerability and faces the occurrence of a negative step trend in rainfall from the late 1960’s to the present day.

In view of this situation and considering agriculture accounts for the 30% of the gross domestic product (GDP), irrigation smart practices can be considered a contemporary and ecologically sustainable agricultural production system to support the development of a water efficient economy and generate a high environmental, economic and social return. Indeed, agriculture has a large role to play in reducing food insecurity and poverty in The Gambia.

The Project Smart farming tools for the enhancement of irrigation efficiency in The Gambia (IrriGambia) will enhance efficiency in the use of water resources in the agricultural sector of West Africa through the implementation of an irrigation advisory service (IAS), which will promote the emergence of mitigation and adaptation practices in West African family farms and farming systems.

Therefore, the action targets lower-cost, easier-to-maintain irrigation systems, which is more adapted to the requirements and capacities of the target groups and greatly increases chances of sustainability and replicability in West Africa in general and in The Gambia in particular.

Location The Gambia
Start date 02/03/2021
Duration 20 months
Total budget 287,059.50 EUR
Expertise France contribution 229,647.50 EUR


Agriculture is the second largest sector in the economy of The Gambia and employs about 44 percent of the country’s active work force accounting for a 30 percent of the GDP. Informal irrigation schemes are those developed by individual farmers or communities and represent the vast majority of irrigation in most West African countries. The informal irrigation sector is characterised by limited knowledge and skills in irrigation farming, and lack of sufficient support services from extension services and other advisory systems so as to realise its full potential. The untapped potential of irrigation combined with a changing climate means that farmers’ livelihoods are increasingly vulnerable and rural communities are more susceptible to poverty and food insecurity.

The Gambia has limited land resources and many soils with low fertility making food production difficult. This high dependency on rainfall, weak policy environment, low levels of technology adoption, inadequate access to inputs (e.g. seed, fertiliser), low private sector investment, underdeveloped markets and poor infrastructure are the main factors that result in low agricultural productivity. Increasing the availability of water to the agricultural sector and resilience to drought is critical to improving agricultural productivity and transforming the sector to be more commercially and market orientated. This will meet the needs of the domestic and the tourism market, and will make The Gambia less dependent on imported food.


The global objective of the action is to enhance irrigation practices in order to optimise water resources management and increase agricultural productivity in West Africa, contributing to increased food security and poverty reduction strategies.

Specifically, the Project aims at increasing vegetable productivity in The Gambia through the design, testing and transfer of an IAS enabling the improvement of water use efficiency, optimising consumption and reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.


The IAS automatically processes meteorological data collected by the meteorological stations and together with crop data, soil type and irrigation system, calculates the daily evapotranspiration of the crop. Based on the specific needs of each crop and plot, sends presonalised irrigation recommendations to farmers registrerd in the system.

The action has a duration of 20 months and will provide innovative and sustainable irrigation practices adapted to the conditions of The Gambia. Therefore, the project will minimise the environmental impacts, while increasing the yields of crop production, thus allowing to increase the incomes of the farmers and their job opportunities.


The action will allow for a resource efficient production of vegetables.