SECTOR PROFILE

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The Senegalese economy is mainly based on the agricultural sector, which employs more than 60% of the active population. In this regard, the State of Senegal has implemented important programmes to improve, strengthen and modernise the agricultural production base through the policies defined in the Emerging Senegalese Plan (PSE), in its PRACAS component (Programme d'accélération de la cadence de l'Agriculture Sénégalaise), which aims at self-sufficiency in rice, among other objectives.

Thanks to abundant water resources and arable land suitable for agricultural production, the potential of Senegalese agriculture is widely recognised, particularly in the cereal and horticultural sectors. The success stories of recent years are ample proof of the existing capacity of Senegalese and foreign private operators.

Senegalese agriculture is mainly :

  • nearly 4 million hectares (19% of the country's surface area), unevenly distributed in the eco-geographical zones
  • Agricultural development only covers 65% of this land annually, i.e. about 2.5 million hectares;
  • 98% of this land is cultivated under rainy conditions, leading to an agricultural activity that is highly exposed to climatic hazards.

Agriculture is the fundamental pillar of Senegal's development policy, which brings together all the favourable conditions for the development of a competitive agriculture that ensures food security and important export flows to high-value markets. Specifically, the field of horticulture -fruits and vegetables- presents, in the current context, the best assets in terms of growth and creation of added value.
The range of food, industrial and horticultural agricultural products is wide and offers many confirmed opportunities for Senegalese agriculture. These products include groundnuts and oilseeds, rice, cereals (maize, millet, sorghum), onions, industrial tomatoes, horticultural exports, etc.

However, in order to really and significantly accelerate the pace in a context of scarce financial resources, the Government of Senegal has chosen to make an effort to prioritise. Thus, the Government, together with all stakeholders, intends to concentrate and boost its agricultural investments in products that are highly strategic for Senegal, affecting the entire rural world, namely rice, onions, groundnuts and off-season fruits and vegetables.

The aim is to achieve an export volume of more than 200,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables in the medium term, through the expansion of the diversity of "Origin Senegal" products. Another ambition for Senegalese horticulture, in particular, is to contribute to national self-sufficiency in market garden products.

 

COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGES

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Senegal is one of the sub-Saharan African countries closest to the major European markets. With abundant land and water resources suitable for agricultural production, the potential of agriculture in Senegal is widely recognised. Successful models in recent years have proven the existing capacity of Senegalese and foreign private operators on the local and export markets, especially for horticultural production.

The climatic and soil conditions across the country provide an excellent environment for agricultural production, especially horticulture.
Several positive factors determine Senegal's competitiveness in agriculture, especially in off-season export horticulture, namely :

  • Hydro-agricultural developments in the Senegal River Valley and Anambé / Private investment in productive equipment and infrastructure on the rise;
  • Agro-ecological conditions very favourable to the development of three cropping seasons;
  • Advantageous geographical location in relation to the main export markets;
  • Very favourable oceanic climate on the country's coastal strip (Littoral and Senegal River Valley) and favourable to off-season crops;
  • Several types of soil suitable for cereal and horticultural crops;
  • Important water potential underused in some areas of the country: 4 million ha of arable land equivalent to 385 ha per 1000 inhabitants, the world average being 86 ha per 1000 inhabitants;
  • 35 billion m3 of renewable surface water and 4 billion m3 of groundwater;
  • a renewed interest in Senegalese origin for crops such as green beans, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn.

STRATEGIC POSITIONING OF SENEGAL

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For several years, Senegalese agriculture has embarked on a major diversification policy, particularly with regard to the development and promotion of export crops. Today, thanks to the modernisation and diversification of production, Senegal has experienced a regular increase in volumes over the last ten years, but also a diversification of the range of products and destination markets, which has ensured a quasi-permanent presence of Senegalese horticultural products on the export markets.

There are clear investment opportunities for private investors in the modernisation of agricultural practices, in the infrastructure platform (post-harvest facilities, cold chains, etc.), and in marketing, notably

  • Off-season export horticulture: various strengths, including the existence of a wide range of opportunities in well-identified niches and the possibility of making different speculations in the fruit and vegetable sector throughout the year (sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, melons, etc.)
  • Cereal crops (rice, wheat, etc.);
  • Post-harvest infrastructure: transport, packaging, storage;
  • Production and marketing of inputs: fertilisers, seeds, phytosanitary products;
  • Production and marketing of inputs: fertilisers, seeds, phytosanitary products;
  • Processing industries (fresh, manufactured), dried fruits etc.);
  • Agricultural and hydro-agricultural developments;
  • Proven investment opportunities in the modernisation of agricultural practices, in the infrastructure platform (post-harvest facilities, cold chains, etc.), and in marketing.

Export horticulture, for example, enjoys a number of advantages, including the existence of a wide range of opportunities in well identified niches and the possibility of making different speculations in the fruit and vegetable chain throughout the year. Sweet corn, in particular, has become one of the main export products along withcherry tomatoes, as well as melons, which are also growing exponentially with an increasingly long marketing window.
Cut flowers and decorative foliage also constitute a range of export products that are currently under-exploited in Senegal.

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