What follows is a brief description of the oil palm issue in The Gambia. After reading it, we invite you to send us comments .
Oil palm in The Gambia
Most of the palm oil produced in the country comes from natural palm stands and not from large-scale plantations. A pilot scheme was begun in the mid-1960s to introduce plantation oil palm production, but this has had little impact on the national economy. Oil palms are also one of the many species used in agroforestry. Oil palms provide oil for local consumption and kernels for export, as well as palm wine from the tree’s sap, livestock feed and other products used locally.
Most of the oil palm processing is carried out in rural areas by women using traditional methods, described by foreign eyes as follows: “The compound was also in the middle of the process of preparing palm oil that would be put into large jugs and then sold at the market. From this process they are also able to make their own soap …. The palm oil making process would seem quite primitive for us … No fancy machinery just fire and big metal oil drums with hoses connecting the ones that need oil transfered from one drum to another.”
Palm oil production was estimated at 2,000 tons in 1999, and kernels at 3,000 tons. If one is to believe Madame Koiteh –a New York based “spiritualist and herbalist”- red palm oil from the Gambia is also being traded internationally –probably in small amounts to niche markets.
In 2007 there were some new movements, when the media informed that a new company -Gambia Vegetable Oil Company- would soon start to operate a palm oil refinery in the country. The company is jointly owned by four Gambian nationals. The refined oil would be sold in the Gambia for local consumption but 70% would be exported to other African countries because of the low consumption of palm oil in the Gambia. 
Until now, Spanish company Mercatalonia’s “Afropalma 2020 Project”, appears to be the only proposal for the production and export of agrofuels based on oil palm and sugarcane to have been presented to the government. It is unclear if the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed or not.
 “Fresh from West Africa, Madame Koiteh’s Red Palm Oil is high grade food quality. It is superior to any palm oil available in stores, because my palm oil is imported fresh every month from Mali, Senegal, and the Gambia. It is a brilliant crimson color and has excellent viscosity.”