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6. Nigeria and the Ivory Coast: Commercial and export crops since 1960

Agricultural production trends in both countries
Ivory Coast: Development strategy and commercial and export agriculture
How the state intervenes
Nigeria: Commercial and export agriculture

Rigobert Oladiran Ladipo


The notion of commercial and export crops is one that covers varying realities depending on the country and the historical period. In Africa, it was originally applied to tropical products that were impossible to grow in Europe but needed by the rapidly growing economies there, and those which had been introduced or developed in Europe's colonies, solely to supply the metropolitan countries. Some of these products, for example of the oil-palm, were known and used by the peoples of the colonial countries long before contact with Europeans; others, such as cocoa, were completely unknown.

The crops dealt with in this chapter have played a significant role in the economic life of Nigeria and the Ivory Coast since 1960. Cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, cotton, groundouts, rubber and sugar in both countries; coffee, bananas and pineapples in Ivory Coast only.

The Ivory Coast is little more than one-third the size of Nigeria (322,462 km2 as against 923,768 km).1 with a population, according to UN 1982 estimates. One-tenth the size of Nigeria's (8.570.000 as against 82.390.000). Despite this disparity in size and population a comparative study of the two countries seemed of value in terms of providing a perspective on their performance. Additionally, an examination of the mechanisms that have underpinned the extraordinary growth of commercial and export agriculture in the Ivory Coast provides an addition to the debate on development.

Agricultural production trends in both countries

Statistics relating to commercial and export crops are highly reliable in so far as products such as rubber, or those not traditionally consumed in the countries where they are cultivated, such as cocoa or coffee, are concerned, but such products as palm oil or groundnuts, which are widely consumed by the local populations, and an increasing proportion of which does not pass through the official marketing agencies (except when these are themselves producers) are less easy to quantify with any degree of accuracy.

Extrapolating relevant figures from the abundant statistical data provided by the UN and its specialized agencies it is proposed to examine broad trends of production and their immediate consequences on the external trade and the processing industries of each country.


For both countries cocoa is currently the most important crop. At independence, Nigeria was second only to Ghana as world producer,2 - reaching peak production in 1970, before beginning a decline that continued until 1982, when it was only 80% of its 1960 level and 64% of 1970 level. Despite this fall in production Nigeria is among the leading group of world producers (Ivory Coast, 25%; Brazil, 22%: Ghana, 10%; Nigeria. 8%; Cameroun 6.75%)3 with 130.000 metric tons of cocoa (86.66% of its total production) exported in 1982.

The production pattern in the Ivory Coast has been altogether different. At independence, the figure for cocoa production was half that of Nigeria's. Thereafter, however, with production increased annually, by 1971 the Ivory Coast had more than doubled its 1960 tonnage, by 1974 it was above that of Nigeria, and in the year 1977-78, replaced Ghana as leading world producer and exporter.4 By 1980, production had increased four times that for 1960.

Palm kernels

Between 1960 and 1966 Nigeria, with an annual production of palm kernels averaging over 400,000 metric tons, was far and away the leading world producer, supplying 50% of total world consumption.5 But with the civil war (1967-70) mainly involving the former Eastern Region, which is the source of 65% of Nigeria's oil palm products,6 production was halved for three consecutive years. Between 1970 and 1979, production increased significantly (except for the bad years. 1973 and 1978), reaching about 300,00() metric tons per annum. After 1979 Nigeria made up much of the shortfall suffered during the tragic years 1967-70, and in 1982 production was 81% of that in 1960, which sufficed to meet domestic needs and to deliver 15.71% on to the world market (as against 96.52% of total production in 1960-66).

Ivorian palm kernel production, insignificant compared to Nigeria's, was marked by a rapid succession of years of growth and years of decline. In good years, since 1974, however, the 1960 harvest has doubled, and a surplus for export has been available (17.8% exported in 1982).

Palm oil

As with palm kernels. Nigeria's annual palm oil production was very high during the first six years of independence: over half a million metric tons, and, during those years, the country was the biggest world producer.7 As was the case for palm kernels, production of palm oil fell sharply in the 1967-70 period although by less than palm kernels (between - 18% and -37% compared to the 1966 level). Production began to recover in 1970, with (unlike palm kernels) a significant leap forward in 1974, when all previous records were beaten, and progress was more or less continuous thereafter. The 1982 tonnage was almost 27% higher than that of 1960. Despite this progress, however, there was a serious problem. This product formed part of the daily diet of a large proportion of the Nigerian population, which had grown by almost 92% between 1960 (42.950.000) and 1982 (82,390.000), but the domestic consumption requirements had increased three-and-a-half times above the production level. After 1976, therefore. Nigeria became a net importer of palm oil and, in 1982, imports were 153.000 metric tons at a cost of US$ 92.000.000 in foreign exchange.

In 1960, the Ivory Coast produced less than 20.000 metric tons of palm oil, 30 times less than Nigeria. By 1982, however, production had risen by a factor of nine-and-a-half and already equalled one-quarter of Nigeria's production, despite the progress the latter had recorded. Thus not only was the Ivory Coast enabled to become self-sufficient by the late 1960s, but also to have substantial surpluses to export.


Cotton, one of the commercial and export crops of the savanna and Sahel regions, is very sensitive to climatic vagaries. In Nigeria, production followed a rather capricious path, with a mediocre harvest (below 40.000 metric tons) one year in two, alternating with an adequate or more than adequate harvest. After 1978, however, the trend was downwards: the 1960 production figure was reduced by almost 27% in 1982 when imports of cotton fibre totalled 58.000 metric tons at a cost of US$ 85,000.000.

In the Ivory Coast, production grew almost continuously, so rapidly that by 1982, production was over 30 times that in 1960 and had easily overtaken Nigeria's. Additionally, in 1982, the Ivory Coast was able to export over 62% of its cotton production.


Until 1971, the volume of groundnuts in shells produced in Nigeria oscillated between one and two million metric tons, making it the largest African producer, the largest world exporter and one of the largest world producers.8 But after 1972 production fell to less than half a million metric tons, with the lowest levels recorded in 1973. 1974, 1975. 1977 and 1978 with harvests far below half a million metric tons. Since 1979, a slight recovery has been underway, but in 1982, production was only 48% of that in the 1960s. Groundnut oil, like palm oil, is widely used for the culinary needs of the Nigerian people. By 1975, one consequence of this dramatic fall in production was the lack of any exportable surplus; and most local refineries have closed or work only sporadically.

In the Ivory Coast, although between 1960 and 1982 tonnages produced rose two-and-a-half times, self-sufficiency seems not to have been achieved.


Nigeria's rubber production since independence has varied between an annual 43,000 and 72.000 metric tons which, until 1971, was entirely exported. Today, it continues broadly to meet domestic demand and achieve large surpluses for sale on the world market - some 60% of total production in 1982.

The Ivory Coast, which embarked on rubber production only after independence, secured more than satisfactory results: starting from nil in 1960, by 1980 it was producing over 20,000 metric tons, all of which, so far, is sold to Third World countries.


In 1960, neither Nigeria nor the Ivory Coast produced any sugar, all consumption was met by imports. Nigeria began producing sugar in 1965 and, until 1975, production rose reasonably satisfactorily, levelling until 1977, then beginning to fall. But at no point has Nigeria come anywhere near sugar self-sufficiency, and only in 1964 and 1968 did imports fall below 50,000 metric tons. Except in 1974, imports between 1971 and 1976 were invariably well above 100,000 metric tons, and since 1977, tonnages imported have risen precipitately: almost one million metric tons in 1981 and 1982, costing the nation almost a half billion US dollars in 1981, and US$ 346 million in 1982.

The Ivory Coast began to produce sugar in 1975, ten years after Nigeria. But the country invested such massive resources in it that by 1981 it was already producing six times more sugar than Nigeria: was more than amply covering the needs of its population; and had large exportable surpluses. Unfortunately, Ivory Coast's sugar surpluses will be difficult to sell on the world market for reasons which will be mentioned below.

Coffee, bananas and pineapples

Nigeria's coffee production is insignificant and the available statistics make no mention of any production of bananas or pineapples. The Ivory Coast is easily the leading African producer and exporter of these fruits and produces and exports coffee.

Contrasting balance-sheets

The foregoing highlights the contrasting trends in the development of the commercial and export agricultures in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. On the one hand. Nigeria, at independence, one of the largest world producers and exporters of numerous tropical products was, two decades later, no longer able to supply the international market (except for cocoa and rubber) and, in 1982, was producing quantities generally lower than those of 1960, and was no longer able to meet its domestic demand.

On the other hand, the Ivory Coast, in 1960 of average significance among world producers and exporters of agricultural raw materials from tropical countries, had become. 20 years after independence, the leading African country for commercial and export agriculture; a leading world producer and exporter of cocoa; the third world producer and exporter of coffee, and a leading African producer and exporter of bananas and pineapples, more than meeting most of its population's needs as well as those of a relatively large local manufacturing industry for most agricultural products.

Consequently, it emerges that a process of under development has occurred on the one hand, and an exceptionally vigorous process of expansion on the other.

In order to try to understand the reasons for this contrast the following pages will study the specific conditions and particular experiences of each country.

Ivory Coast: Development strategy and commercial and export agriculture

Land: expropriation/appropriation strategy

At independence (1960) the Ivory Coast, with 322.462 km2 and 3,230,000 inhabitants,9 had just ten inhabitants per square kilometre. There was thus no shortage of land and each indigenous community- family or village- had sufficient to enable its members to practice the traditional slash-and-burn shifting agriculture with long periods of fallow. Land was governed by customary law, of which two basic principles were: that land-ownership rights were vested in the community, and not in individuals; and that land was inalienable. But in some regions, particularly in the East, the Centre-West and Baoulé country, where coffee and cocoa growing had developed, collective ownership had already begun to give way to permanent, alienable private ownership.

This mode of land appropriation, whose chief African beneficiaries were the coffee and cocoa planters, became official state policy as soon as independence offered the big planters, who controlled the government party (PDCI-RDA), and the state apparatus, the possibility of laying down the country's political strategy.

As early as 1961, the lvorian head of state declared war on customary forms of ownership, which he described as out-dated, and proclaimed the right of Ivorian agriculture to develop without hindrances. On 20 March 1963, the National Assembly, all of whose deputies had been elected on a PDCI-RDA platform, adopted a law on land tenure, whose basic principles have been summarized thus: 'what is not developed must return to the State... what is developed must belong to the person who developed it'.10 The Law can be summarized as follows:

a) Article 37 provides that 'the developer, to the exclusion of all other holders of customary rights in the land, may request registration of his title';

b) registration of title, a system instituted in the colonial period which was continued by the Law, effectively removes "registered land from the control of customary law bringing it under the provisions of the [French-type] Civil Code'; it constituted 'the mode of verifying and confirming rights in land'.

c) members of the collectives whose rights have been affected by this registration, and, more precisely, those with rights under customary law, can ask only for compensation, but

d) compensation is not automatic and 'is not due if the customary rights that other members of the affected community could lay claim to have lapsed through non-use over a period greater than ten years'.

e) 'when compensation is due, the amount shall be set amicably between the two parties. Failing such an agreement..., the judicial agencies shall fix the amount in such a way that the debtor can pay off his debt within a maximum of five years'.

f) 'land and forest undeveloped as at 15 January 1962 shall be registered in the name of the State' and become its property.

g) registered land that is not developed or is in a poor state of production for at leas' five years 'may be the object of an expropriation procedure'."

This Law of 20 March 1963 was, however, never promulgated, for fear, so it seems, of the reactions of the customary authorities. But this tactical retreat on the part of the state did not constitute a repudiation of the Law's provisions. Proof of this is the PDCI-RDA Political Bureau's decision in 1966 which lays down that: 'when land has been developed... the developer may, to the exclusion of all other holders of customary rights in land, request registration of that land in his name'.12

In addition to land-capital, one of the most important factors of production is labour-capital. In 1960, the indigenous human resources of the Ivory Coast alone could not provide this capital.

Imported manpower

The tradition of recourse to hired labour, mainly of Burkinabe origin, goes back to the time when most of Burkina Faso was part of the Ivory Coast. But after 1950, with the increasingly rapid development of export crops, the number of imported labourers grew rapidly, and was already sizeable before independence: 390.000 foreign workers in 1958 as against 2,320.000 indigenes,13 or 17% of the total. This policy of importing foreign labour to meet the needs of its commercial and export agriculture (Ivorian planters turn to hired labour only for cash crops and use unpaid family labour for food crops)14 was continued and even stepped up after independence. Thus, by 1965, non-lvorian Africans already accounted for 22% of the total rural population and 35% of the rural adult male population.

In the three areas of prosperous plantations, the East, the forested Centre-West and the Baoulé savanna areas, foreigners make up over one-third of the population... in the plantation areas strictly defined, they account for between half and two-thirds of the labour force. While, in some export crop growing areas local labour still represents a significant percentage of workers- notably in the West - in the East this is no longer the case: the local populations have been transformed into non-working 'proprietor' planters, the work being done almost exclusively by agricultural labourers from the north.15

In 1977, an official study, covering 75 modern agricultural enterprises specializing in commercial and export crops, found that their labour force, totalling 11,583 workers, included 10.427 non-lvorian Africans, 90% of the total. The same study, extended to cover 159 modern enterprises operating throughout the rural areas, showed the 71.8% of their labourers were non-lvorian Africans.16

These agricultural labourers, mainly foreigners, were relatively poorly paid. While the minimum hourly wage in the secondary sector was 37 Francs CFA in 1958, that for agricultural labourers in the plantations was 19.50 Francs, or 52.7% of the wage in the secondary sector. In 1979, for an eight-hour day, the minimum daily wage in the secondary sector was 1,264 Francs. That of the agricultural labourer, whose working day often exceeded eight hours, was only 400 Francs per day, or at most 31.64% of the wage in the secondary sector." This low level of agricultural labourers' wages amply explains why the indigenous, non planter-proprietor for whom other possibilities are open, is unwilling to work as an agricultural labourer. It also helps to understand one of the essential wellsprings of Ivorian growth: an accelerated accumulation realized at the expense of a population with no means of bringing political pressure to bear, because it is made up of non-citizens who have often been driven into exile in the Ivory Coast by much more precarious living conditions in their homes in the Sahel. Finally, it makes clear why the planter-proprietors have been able to prosper, despite the large amounts deducted from their products' safe prices by the state and middlemen.

Mechanization: extending the ruling landed bourgeoisie's social base

The option in favour of a certain level of mechanization of agriculture dates back to 1966, and led to the formation of MOTORAGRI, a state company responsible for developing the mechanization of agriculture. To summarize the official viewpoint: manual agriculture is synonymous with small-scale holdings and thus with peasants' poverty and illiteracy, and drives the educated and semi-educated youth off the land. In addition, clearing land manually is unsatisfactory, as it leaves behind roots and large trees and the area is rapidly covered by bush. If, as a result of mechanization, there were to be some loss of soil quality, that would be largely compensated for by the gains resulting from large holdings and more thorough clearing.18

But there is also another explanation that flows from an analysis of political developments in the Ivory Coast since 1964. Until then, the state apparatus was firmly controlled by the group of big planters19 of whom the President of the Republic himself was the undisputed leader. This group was aware that, in every other country in the sub-region, political power had passed to officials or intellectuals, and their group was unique among those of its type in having secured state leadership. It therefore did everything possible in an effort to ensure against sharing power with bureaucrats or any other social category. There was thus a preference for entrusting positions of responsibility in the administration and public enterprises to French technical assistance personnel rather than to nationals who were seen as potential rivals and in whom the ruling group reposed no confidence. This also explains the reason for the endless invective aimed at officials and intellectuals, as well as what lay behind the shadowy 'plots' that led to the elimination from Party and state leadership of those individuals, not of planter origin, who had emerged during the heroic struggle after the Second World War.20

But, after 1964, subsequent to the military coups that began in Africa in 1963, this group, reluctant to give way to the army, embarked on a rapprochement with the indigenous higher cadres, mostly young university graduates, and contemplated eventually sharing power with them.21 But a precondition for this was that these young people should become planters themselves. On 13 March 1965, at a meeting with all the young cadres in the government, the National Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, heads of department and of regional organizations of the Party, the Head of State gave them the following directives: each must set up a plantation in his home region, of at least 15 hectares for a minister, ten for a deputy or member of the Economic Council and five for a head of department or secretary-general of a regional section of the PDCI-RDA. This meeting was held just five days after the announcement of the setting-up of MOTORAGRI, on 8 March 1966.22 Such a succession of events cannot have been accidental. It seems reasonable to assume that MOTORAGRI was the instrument dreamed up by the planters in power to accelerate the numerical expansion of their own class and thus broaden their own social base.

Virtually from the day it was established, MOTORAGRI was provided with 120 caterpillar, and 72 wheeled tractors, plus 12 mechanical graders, mostly of American origin; management was provided by Israeli experts.23 This mechanical equipment, and the assured availability of land and credit, stimulated those cadres affected by the presidential directives to carry them out with great enthusiasm. State and Party leaders and cadres competed with each other, anxious to enlarge and diversify their plantations, like the President; each dreaming of exceeding the 'peasant President's' productivity records vat least coming close to them.24

No record of the size of these plantations exists since, after agreeing (on 17 February 1962) in principle to the creation of a cadastral register, the planter-state decided against it, because in the opinion of Jacques Baulin, an adviser to Houphouët-Boigny from 1965 to 1969. 'a cadastral register would have made it possible to list the extent of the property of those in power', and,

because of this gap, it is impossible today to verify whether President Houphouët-Boigny really owns 15, 20 or 50.000 hectares of rice and other plantations... and whether the properties of Mr Philippe Yacé, then President of the National Assembly, were larger in 1969 than those of the Head of State, as a minister well placed to know believed.25

Regarding the holdings of Mr Philippe Yacé's, the citation, read by the Minister of Agriculture, in December 1970, when he decorated him with the insignia of Commander of Agricultural Merit, included the statement 'if you are the second Ivorian figure in the political sphere, you also the second figure, as a planter, coming immediately after His Excellency President Houphouët-Boigny...' and went on to eulogize Mr Yacé, as a leading planter of coconuts, selected oil palms, bananas for export, avocados, a leading stock farmer, a rice-grower and as embarking on the production of pineapples for export, coffee and cocoa.26

Here we can see the principle and practice of combining public office and profitable private activity being exalted in one of the highest figures in the state

How the state intervenes

Mechanization alone, and even combined with large credit facilities and the availability of land, could not have accounted for the exceptional growth of commercial and export agriculture in the Ivory Coast since independence. A decisive role in accelerating agricultural growth was the state, which, despite Ivorian readers' choice of a free trade and free competition system, and their oft-repeated faith in private initiative, soon became the real driving force of agriculture.

In January 1961, when Houphouët-Boigny presented his government's programme to the National Assembly, shortly after his election to the Presidency, he announced that the Ivory Coast 'proposed.. to achieve a State Capitalism'. And he went on to state that, alongside private effort, there would be:

a preponderant effort by the State which will take various forms: first. through public investment making use of both external assistance and national funds: second, through taking shares in enterprises using the country's natural resources, which shares will be in proportion to the size of these resources: lastly, through the creation of State enterprises.27

State intervention was of two kinds: 1) direct take-over of production activities, specifically for oil palm, coconuts, rubber and sugar cane And 2) was limited to providing management for, and a variety of assistance to independent producers of crops already widely grown before independence, such as coffee, cocoa, bananas and pineapples, and also annual crops such as cotton, that do not need large investment and that pay-off after one season.

The first oil palm plan

This plan, the first concrete step in massive state intervention in the country's economy, had several aspects.

First, in 1963.28 a state company, SODEPALM was formed, with the task of creating and exploiting commercial plantations of selected oil palms and, around each of its own blocks of oil palms, promoting so-called 'village' plantations, belonging to private Ivorian citizens. The SODEPALM plantations were to be sufficiently large and productive to 'ensure the profitability of the operation and a regular supply to the processing factories'. 'Village' plantations were to be situated at a maximum distance of 20 kilometres from the factories to enable their owners to benefit from the logistics, and the advice of the SODEPALM estate of which they were an extension. A dense network of roads and tracks was to serve the whole and facilitate its exploitation. Paid technical assistance was supplied by agronomists from the IRHO, the French research institute that specialized in oils and fats and supplied SODEPALM with selected seeds.29

By the end of 1978. SODEPALM owned outright 52.000 hectares of commercial plantations and 38,000 hectares of 'village' plantations scattered among 10,000 planters. Thereafter, the commercial plantations programme virtually ended, since, as the 1979-81 three-year programme of state actions announced, the Ivory Coast was already endowed 'with industrial plantations forming a viable agro-industrial core making possible the development of village plantations'.30 Stress was then on building-up village plantations, which the 15-year second oil palm plan currently underway envisages extending to 33.700 hectares, against an extension of only 1,200 hectares for the state commercial plantations.31

In 1967, a similar model was applied to coconut plantations, for which a special section was created within SODEPALM. By 1981, this section owned 19,195 hectares of commercial plantations with an output, in that year, exceeding 92 million coconuts. The output of SODEPALM-supervised village coconut plantations in the same year was equal to almost 12% of the commercial section's.

The oil palm plan's industrial and commercial aspects consisted in the formation, in 1969, of two mixed ownership companies. PALMINDUSTRIE and PALMIVOIRE. The former was responsible for the management and exploitation of the commercial units integrated into the oil palm and coconut plantations, and the latter for marketing oil palm and coconut products, and for the creation of twelve palm oil mills and a crushing mill for the trituration of palm kernels and copra.

With the end of the large-scale commercial plantations programme, the SODEPALM-PALMINDUSTRIE-PALMIVOIRE group was reorganized. PALMIVOIRE was wound up and PALMINDUSTRIE was changed from a mixed ownership to a state company and, in 1978, was charged with the management of commercial oil palm and coconut plantations in the framework of the oil palm and coconut plan, for the collection of the production of village and industrial plantations and the industrialization of oil products'.32

Finally, the social aspect consisted in the creation of new villages able to receive and settle individual planters under the wing of the state company.

Alongside the state's oil palm plan, there existed a private oil palm subsidiary, whose agricultural role was insignificant (only 9,640 hectares of selected oil palms in 1982). On the industrial level, however, where it included four different companies and was dominated by the UNILEVER group, it was more important, in particular upstream from PALMINDUSTRIE, since this private sector processed raw Ivorian vegetable oils into refined oil, soaps, and so on.

The Ivorian development strategy: consequences and limits

What emerges from the oil palm case study is a division of labour that: 1) recognizes that the French research transnational. IRHO, has a monopoly on the production of high-yielding seeds and the improvement of cropping techniques to be applied: 2) gives a key role to the state in financing agricultural production and the establishment of structures for private planters; 3) organizes the sharing of preliminary industrial processing activities between the state and the foreign private sector, the dominant role again falling to the state: 4) enshrines the hegemony of the foreign private sector, in this case a transnational, at the level of the processing of the original agricultural product into a finished product. This division enables a transnational to have access to abundant raw material, usually after preliminary treatment by the state industries, delivered at the local guaranteed price. The multinational, in principle, is enabled to have relatively low production costs for its finished products, a major advantage over international competition and, finally, as a bonus, more or less captive markets within the Ivory Coast and countries associated with it This guarantees the transnational a more than substantial share of the surplus generated by agricultural labourers, peasant-planters and factory workers. This windfall profit, made increasingly attractive by a more than generous Investment Code, was instrumental in attracting foreign businesses and transnationals to the country.

Outside the oil palm sector, agricultural activities associated with the production of coffee and cocoa had, by 1965, become a virtual monopoly in the hands of Ivorian private planters:33 sugar is exclusively under the state company SODESUCRE: and rubber and cotton are wholly controlled by the SAPH and the CIDT, enterprises with majority public capital (state share: 60.4% of SAPH and 55% of CIDT).34 In 1978, out of 96 productive pineapple plantations. 69 were Ivorian, nine mixed ownership and 20 were foreign owned. In the same year, lvorians' plantations were 57% of the total: in 1981 Ivorians' share represented 66.5% of the total.35

Although no precise data exist, the impressive tonnages of bananas exported by the Ivory Coast or processed in its factories are, very largely, from either state or privately owned plantations. Private planters co-producing with a state company, benefit from the infrastructure and logistics made available to them by the state company. Those wholly privately owned are assisted by the state with management and organization, a variety of bonuses and advantages of which the most effective is the subsidy for the extension of plantations, introduced for cocoa, ox-drawn farming and (from March 1977) free fertilizer for cotton producers.36

Agricultural production activities are largely dependent on the scientific and technological capacity of transnationals, mostly French transnationals involved in applied research: sugar cane. IRAT: cotton. IRCT and CFDT; coffee and cocoa, IFCC and CAPRAL(-NESTLE): rubber. Michelin.37

Cotton-ginning is provided by the CIDT, in which the State holds 55% of the shares, while overseas marketing, spinning, weaving and printing are currently in the hands of private companies or companies with majority private capital. Distribution of capital in 1977 showed French, Japanese. Dutch and American interests playing an active role, and, in 1981, included almost two-and-a-half billion Francs CFA of Ivorian private capital out of a total of 13 billion.38 While 66.61% of coffee exports are controlled by public and private Ivorian interests.56 private enterprises, especially Nestle, are significantly involved in processing: this pattern similarly applies to cocoa and cocoa products.39

In addition to the social division of labour just described, another aspect of the Ivorian development strategy is the sectoral approach chosen by the state. The state mobilized a substantial share of its resources, made available particularly by the Stabilization Fund's reserves, for each major commercial and export crop and hence for each region, in turn, able to produce them. First, coffee and cocoa, then after 1964, oil palm, coconuts after 1967, sugar after 1974, and so on. In short, rather than attempting to synchronize development throughout the country, the state has accommodated itself, temporarily, to inter-regional imbalances, possibly to be corrected later.

Finally, unlike private companies, in which management is still dominated by expatriate staff, state companies have allowed Ivorian managers to rise to the positions they covet and to manage substantial resources. But in the Ivory Coast, as already noted, it is not unknown for public and private sector jobs to be held simultaneously even at the highest state levels, and its basic economic option favours the quest for profit. Increasingly, therefore, these cadres were soon adding to their already high licit incomes (72% higher than equivalent level cadres in the civil service),40 resources drawn from illicit operations: commissions on purchases and investments: over-invoicing: or even plain malversation of their companies' resources. These illegal practices, existing also at the administration level, apparently were never dealt with seriously, and seem to be an accepted method enabling those newly admitted to the leading group to amass wealth.

Consequently, the production costs of agro-industrial complexes managed or controlled by state companies gradually increased, reducing the surpluses available for the state and the transnationals' profit margin. The critical threshold was crossed when, with the slow-down of economic activity in the West, the tonnages of Ivorian agricultural exports began to fall and their sale prices to collapse.41 Consequent reduction in state revenues called into question the country's capacity to honour debts incurred on the international financial market, and IMF intervention became inevitable. Among the recovery measures announced by the Ivorian state at the PDCI Congress in September-October 1980, were the dissolution of 15 state companies, the removal of numerous allowances in kind to state companies' senior staff, and their salaries aligned with those of the civil service.42 The IMF did not impose devaluation, which, in fact, it never imposes on franc-zone African countries. Privatization of state enterprises and closure of two of SODESUCRE's six sugar complexes were, however, included.

The privatization measures come as no surprise but those aimed at SODESUCRE merit more attention, in so far as they illustrate certain aspects of system's functioning and help highlight some of its limitations.

The Ivorian sugar programme was launched in 1974, in the framework of the development plan for the previously undeveloped North, an area haunted for some years by the spectre of drought. Launched in a period of strong expansion, when the state still had sizeable financial resources, it was the subject of quite unprecedented over-invoicing: 35 billion CFA francs at least, according to Jeune Afrique's estimates, 34 billion for just three of the complexes, as Houphouët-Boigny himself confessed. The resulting scandal led, in July 1977, to the removal from government of the three ministers (Henri Konan Bédié. Abdoulaye Sawadogo and Mohammed Diawara) who had been responsible for Ivorian economic policy for over ten years. After three years in political exile Konan Bédié, at the Seventh Congress of the PDCI-RDA (autumn 1980), returned in triumph to the political stage by securing the post of President of the National Assembly and number two in the regime.43 Mohammed Diawara went on to gain renewed notoreity by pocketing six billion CFA francs from the WAEC Solidarity Fund, and was arrested and imprisoned, in October 1984, by Captain Sankara, head of state of Burkina Faso and President in office of WAEC.44

When SODESUCRE came on stream in 1980 it had the six sugar complexes finally constructed 'with a total theoretical production capacity of 310,000 metric tons per annum (raw sugar equivalent)', and in 1983 actually produced 186,619 metric tons. Total Ivorian consumption in the same year was 102.000 metric tons.45 What was to be done with the surplus? The cost of building the sugar complexes had resulted in Ivorian sugar becoming uncompetitive on the world market (according to Houphouët-Boigny Camerounian sugar was 100 Francs CFA per kg, Ivorian was 250 Francs CFA). The traditional customers for Ivorian agricultural products (France and the European Community countries) whose businessmen had encouraged the Ivory Coast to engage in sugar production, and been entrusted with all the investments and thus been the chief beneficiaries of the operation, now refused to purchase Ivorian sugar because they themselves were beset by the burden of their own surplus production. 'The project of the century had become a nightmare!'46

To remedy this situation, the IMF recommended a reduction in the country's sugar production capacity by closing down two of the six complexes. The two complexes closed to be converted to food crops (rice, maize, groundnuts, yams) and cotton farms, and the factories on these two complexes to be dismantled to provide spare parts for the remaining four factories still in production.47

A development strategy based on exporting raw materials to the world market had thus demonstrated its limits. Significantly, it was the IMF that indicated producing food crops, intended principally for the Ivorian domestic market and possibly that of countries in the sub-region, as a possible way out.

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