Lowlands Agricultural Development Programme

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Lowlands Agricultural Development Programme

Lowlands Agricultural Development Programme

The Lowlands Agricultural Development Programme (LADEP) was the first, eight-year phase of a 20-year programme for sustainable community-driven reclamation and development of lowland areas to improve traditional rice production. The programme features simple technologies and self-help labour.

The Gambia’s preferred staple food is rice, which is cultivated primarily in the lowlands. Because of rapid population growth, urbanization, climatic change and the growing preference for rice as a food, demand has exceeded local production. Rural people’s dependence on lowland rice farming, practised mainly by women, has increased since the 1970s. Upland cropping has become increasingly unreliable because of declining and erratic rainfall and the uncertain world market for cash crops, mainly groundnuts. At the same time, drought and saline intrusion into the lowlands forced farmers to reduce areas under traditional rice cultivation.

The programme’s long-term development objective is sustainable improvement of traditional rice production to enhance food security for poor rural households. The priority target group is traditional swamp and tidal rice growers, who are mainly women.

The first phase of the programme brought about fundamental changes in the traditional land tenure system. It catalysed the devolution of individually owned land back to the community and the sharing and redistribution of new communal land among individuals, mainly women, who participated in land reclamation works. Land tenure security for rural poor people, supported by government land reforms, has contributed to food security by promoting increased land reclamation and cropping.

The programme minimized land conflicts, reduced poverty among women farmers producing crops on their own land, and resulted in an increase in food production of 30 to 100 per cent. Adhering to the model of self-regulation provided by the programme, communities developed only those areas which they could effectively reclaim and cultivate.

Successful programme activities have been replicated and scaled up in the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project.

Source: IFAD

Status: Closed
Gambia (The)
Approval Date
12 April 1995
1995 - 2004
Agricultural Development
Total Project Cost
US$ 11.66 million
IFAD Financing
US$ 5.06 million
Co-financiers (International)
African Development Fund US$ 5.68 million
Financing terms
Highly Concessional
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