Cote d’Ivoire has delivered average GDP growth of 9 per cent a year in the last five years driven by an agricultural transformation that has moved value addition and agricultural processing centre stage.
As the world’s largest cocoa producer and largest exporter of cashew nuts, and the third largest palm oil producer in Africa, the country is now building a base across a wider range of commodities and amplifying its gains further still by processing its agricultural raw materials locally.
For journalists attending the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan from 4th to 8th September 2017, this year’s forum began with a field visit to view the reality of these rapid moves into agro-industry.
Travelling to Aboisso Province, more than 100km from Abidjan, the media toured agricultural processing plants producing rubber and palm oil. The first stop was at Sud Comoe Caoutchouc (SCC), in the village of Adaou, which specialises in rubber production from hevea, and runs an experimental farm and a wood graft garden.
SCC sources its hevea from local farmers and co-operatives. “We do our best to create and maintain good relationships with the farmers so that there is trust between us, ” said Mr Olivier Martin, the General Manager of the firm, in explaining SCC’s success.
The company, which employs 265 permanent workers, ships its production to Europe, Asia and America, and has led the way as one of the first agro-industrial enterprises in the country’s hevea sector and a certified ISO 9001 and 14001 producer.
At Mouyassué, the journalists visited African Palm Industries (API), a palm oil production factory launched in 2016 to ensure the local supply of raw material to Africa West Industries (AWI), its mother company.
The company produces crude palm oil and palm kernel oil, in the key initial processing stage of palm oil, from palm bunch and palm nuts produced by local farmers and village planters.
“We do not define ourselves as simple marketers, but as a company that assists farmers in increasing their production, improving the quality of their production, reducing costs and, therefore, improving their revenue,” said Mr Yaya Soro, General Manager of API .
Accompanied by experts and representatives from AGRA (Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa) and from the Ivorian ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, journalists touring the API factory also visited lagoon basin where wasted water is treated as part of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
The group of reporters in this field trip were accompanied by experts and representatives from AGRA (Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa) and from the Ivorian ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.