Agriculture in Africa faces the great challenge of exporting
By Devdiscourse News Desk
The world’s largest producer and consumer of peanut oil, China, which had a bad harvest in 2015, has since turned to Senegal, one of the few countries in the world not to consume all its production but also world’s leading exporter of groundnuts. In 2015, the value of exports of this product in Senegal to Asia jumped from 1.7 to 30 billion CFA francs in 2017, according to the Ministry of Commerce, as per Afirmag.
A vital sector for African economies
Like Senegal, agricultural products are essential for trade in West Africa, for example. Their place in the various countries of this part of the continent remains globally important in terms of exports, whether for the different cash crops such as cocoa or cotton, but also in terms of imports: rice, wheat palm oil are essential to meet the needs of the people.
Figures published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) show that, on average, for the twelve countries in the area where statistics are available, agricultural exports account for 23.5 percent of the total for this sector. This percentage varies greatly from one country to another. For Côte d’Ivoire, 69 percent is achieved; in contrast, for Nigeria, this contributes only four percent, or again, five percent for Guinea.
According to Afirmag, for some countries, a product predominates widely. This is the case in Côte d’Ivoire (more than 50 percent for cocoa and more than 70 percent if cocoa by-products are added) or Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali for cotton (over 60 percent, 40 percent, and 70percent respectively).
Overall, it must be said that African countries are increasingly dependent on the export of their commodities, and agricultural products for more than half of them. Export agriculture provides 40 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s export earnings. Indeed, the importance of agriculture in African economies is also reflected in the sector’s share of employment and exports.
Photo courtesy of Neil Palmer.