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7. Ivory Coast: Agricultural and industrial development

The role of agriculture in Ivorian industrial development
The industrialization strategy

Aly Traoré


In common with most development models in underdeveloped countries since their political independence, those of African countries have usually been inspired by a global development strategy based on the theory of the international specialization of labour and comparative advantage. According to this strategy, underdeveloped countries' interest lies in exporting to industrialized countries those factors of production that they possess in abundance, particularly agricultural, mineral and energy raw materials. This will enable them to obtain foreign exchange that, in turn will enable them to buy capital goods for their industrialization.

Twenty-five years after political independence this development strategy has proved to be disappointing for most African countries.1 The Ivory Coast is, however, one of the rare exceptions. Numerous factors explain the relative success of the economic experience, and the development model, of the Ivory Coast. First, although possessing few mineral resources,2 the Ivory Coast is favourably endowed with varied natural conditions that enable agriculture to serve as 'the basis and the motor' of its economic and social development. Secondly, the Ivorian development model is a liberal one, widely open to the outside world and 'regulated' by a presidential single-party system, with flexible planning and a major role for the state. This development model which. 'without being socialist seeks to realize a very bold social policy' aspires in the long run to establish a 'popular capitalism'.3

Finally, not only has this model rested on the intensive exploitation and export of the raw products of cash-crop agriculture but also it has sought, with some success' to establish relations between agriculture and industry, through an industrialization strategy based on agro-industry in general and the agricultural foodstuffs industry in particular.

This study is divided into two parts: 1) the role of agriculture in Ivorian industrial development: and 2) the industrialization strategy and the underlying significance of the relations between agriculture and industry for Ivorian economic development.

The role of agriculture in Ivorian industrial development

Historically, as at present, the supreme importance of agriculture in economic development in general and industrial development in particular, especially in the first stages of economic growth, is once again being demonstrated in the Ivorian economic experience.

The primary sector, which includes agriculture narrowly defined (livestock, fishing and forest products) can be divided into two sub-sectors. 1) food agriculture, largely left to its own devices; and 2) export agriculture, quite well organized by the government. The relations that have historically existed between these two sub-sectors can be described as 'conflictual', because, during the process of economic growth, export agriculture tends increasingly to deprive food agriculture of those factors of production - land. Iabour and capital - that it needs in order to attain national food self-sufficiency.4

Food agriculture

Clearly, agriculture's food production capacity plays a vital role in all economic development and especially in that of underdeveloped countries, because: 1) their people must be decently fed so that, among other things, production in the various sectors of the economy can be increased; 2) their people must receive adequate incomes by providing them with jobs, in this case in agriculture: 3) food agriculture must contribute to the growth of other sectors, above all, by providing the industrial sector with cheap labour, raw materials and sometimes, financial surpluses.

Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have largely failed to grasp the key role of food agriculture in their development and, therefore, fall increasingly victim to famine. Of course, in common with many African countries5 in the Ivory Coast too, there is a degree of malnutrition, but it has neither experienced famine, nor attained total independence in food. And, as its development proceeds, the imperative of the development of food agriculture becomes more urgent, not only because of the agricultural vocation of the country, but also because of the rapid acceleration of demographic, urban and economic growth. Since independence, the population, which includes many foreigners, has increased by an average of 4% per annum; urbanization at 10% per annum: and economic growth, in money terms at 8% per annum. Nevertheless, until 1960. Ivorian peasants engaged in food agriculture had, using only their traditional tools (the daba and the cutlass), provided almost all the staple foodstuffs except for rice, self-sufficiency in which has not yet been attained.

It has been estimated6 that while the majority of self-sufficiency ratios in various staple products (rice, maize and other cereals, yams, cassava, plantains and taro) were satisfactory in 1985, they will tend to fall dangerously by the 1990s. If, however, the authorities take appropriate measures (currently being prepared) to halt this downward trend, self-sufficiency in these staples would be attained and, maintained, except for rice.

The production of animal proteins is less satisfactory. By 1986, self-sufficiency had been virtually achieved in poultry and pig-meat production, and the government was attempting to improve cattle, goat, and sheep production in order to enable the food sub-sector to play its full role in this area for the future of the economy and the industrial sector.

In addition to feeding the country's population, agriculture as a whole contributes to general economic development by providing jobs and incomes to rural workers- which thus makes it possible to stimulate the growth of GDP. The agricultural sector in the broad sense makes a considerable contribution to the formation of GDP, and food agriculture's contribution is far from insignificant: in 1980 it was virtually equivalent to half the value of total production of the primary sector.7

In most countries' economic development relations between agriculture and industry are marked by the reciprocal supply of 'factors' from agriculture to industry and from industry to agriculture. These 'factors' include: food products, cheap labour, raw materials to be processed and some financial surplus derived from the food sub-sector. In the Ivory Coast, however, every 'factor' supplied by food agriculture to industry comes not only from internal sources, but, for example, animal products may equally well come from neighbouring countries (Mali. Burkina Faso, among others) as from Ivorian livestock.

The Ivorian food sub-sector supplies workers in industry with all the tubers (yams, cassava, tarot sweet potatoes) and most cereals (millet, sorghum, fonio and maize); only rice (half of needs) and all the wheat are imported. With the new policy of food self-sufficiency currently being put into effect, rice imports are declining as national production rises, and there is still hope of achieving self-sufficiency in rice by the 1990s.

Self-sufficiency in the supply of poultry and pig-meat already achieved must be maintained and the production of a degree of abundance to make exports possible should be attempted. For other animal products (cattle, sheep and goats) including fish products, the food sub-sector is largely dependent (about 50%) on external sources.

Agricultural labour employed by Ivorian industrial enterprises originates in both the food and the export agriculture sub-sectors and comprises both Ivorian rural workers and those from neighbouring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso.8 The exodus of rural workers to Ivorian towns and industries is due principally to a desire to en joy 'better working and living conditions' in the urban centres, rather than, as is usually the cause, lack of gainful employment in the countryside. As urban centres are increasingly overburdened with those seeking employment, and industries and services are unable to absorb them all, food needs in the towns increase, along with potential shortages of this or that foodstuff. (It should be noted that while the growth rate in industrial jobs is around only 5% per annum, urban growth has been 10% per annum and industrial growth 12% per annum.) Overall, the consequences of this rural exodus on economic development, especially industrial development, while stabilizing wages, and hence workers' purchasing power, reduces food production in the countryside and, rather than reinforcing the links between agriculture and industry, promotes economic and social decay in the urban areas. In response to this the government is considering a call for 'return of the youth to the land', which it is hoped will both 'decongest' the urban areas and step up agricultural production in the rural areas; and thus lead to an increased supply of agricultural raw materials to agro-industrial sector.

A scrutiny of agricultural supplies to industry shows that those from export agriculture (to which we shall return below) clearly exceed those from food agriculture. Food agriculture's potential production is, however, far from exhausted and so far, the quantities available are at times insufficient to satisfy domestic demand. Some food products (all tubers except cassava and all cereals except wheat) supply industrial raw materials for initial processing only, since scientific and technical mastery of stocking, canning and processing has not yet been achieved. Progress is, however, being made: the cassava processing factory at Toumodi seems to be a successful result of the much sought after technical progress.

In short, interactions between food agriculture and industry are by no means adequate. In order for food agricultural production to contribute adequately to the country's economic and social development a successful policy of food self-sufficiency and scientific, technical and economic expertise in food processing are essential.

Export agriculture

The Ivory Coast's development is still based on the strategic role of cash crops such as coffee, cocoa, bananas and even timber, which means not only that these products launched the growth of the economy, by monetizing it, but also that the incentive nature of their economic relations with food agriculture and with industry and commerce underpins that growth.

The cash crop products (coffee, cocoa and timber) that have formed the core of this development strategy were later reinforced in their role by such secondary agricultural export crops as bananas, pineapples and, post-1965, commercial crops embarked upon by the crop diversification policy.

The agricultural sub-sector that produces the main export crops (coffee, cocoa, timber) has to provide industry with manpower, financial flows and raw materials for processing.

In order to contribute to the country's economic and industrial development the food agriculture sub-sector is fundamentally dependent on export agriculture in that, as the economy develops, the food sub-sector provides factors of production to the export sub-sector, in particular land and labour, as well as food. In exchange, the food sub-sector receives a financial return that contributes to its monetization and integration into the national capitalist system. But, because the economy undervalues and underpays the food sub-sector for these factors of production - owing to the deterioration of domestic trade terms and exorbitant levies extorted by commercial middlemen - it generates little surplus, even for essential self-financing.

But agricultural sub-sectors contribute to the transfer of workers to the urban areas and their industries. It is the economic and social consequences of a haphazard rural-urban move that have led the Ivorian government to attempt to organize a return of the youth to the land, in the hopes of establishing a possible long-term rationalization of labour use both in the rural and urban areas.

Cocoa, coffee and timber export earnings, for the economy in general and industry in particular, have risen as follows: 1) cocoa: from Francs CFA 226.6 billion in 1980 to 319.7 billion in 1983; 2) coffee: from Francs CFA 134.49 billion in l980 to l79.83 billion in l983;3) timber (logs and sawn): from Francs CFA 123.7 billion in 1980 to 96.9 billion in 1983. In total, the three products have provided the Ivorian economy with export receipts that have increased from Frances CFA 493.79 billion in 1980 to 496.43 billion in 1983.

A not insignificant proportion of these receipts - difficult to estimate precisely - contributes to Ivorian industrial development in the form of state shareholding in the 'social capital' of state companies or mixed state-private companies, state investments, the Stabilization Fund and investments by a number of Ivorians including some big coffee and cocoa planters and forest developers. Small Ivorian planters" participation in the investments is indirect, through state levies (the Stabilization Fund) on the international prices of coffee and cocoa.

These three products also supply raw materials to the industrial sector. The average percentage of unrousted coffee processed is 5% per annum of total coffee sold, that of cocoa, which is much larger, averages 25% per annum of total beans marketed. But it must be noted that whereas coffee is completely processed to the final product: Nescafé, cocoa beans undergo only preliminary processing to obtain cocoa paste and cocoa butter for export to the developed countries.

Crop diversification

The crop diversification policy, launched after 1965, was intended to attain three essential objectives:9

(1) to reduce regional disparities, which had been aggravated above all by the promotion of export crops in the southern forest at the expense of the northern savanna locked into subsistence production;

(2) to increase total export receipts, as the Ivory Coast is increasingly confronted with the effects of climatic variations and the deterioration of the terms of trade;

(3) to promote a dynamic agro-industrial sector, which would have as its driving force the agricultural foodstuffs industries and mainly use raw materials from local commercial crops.

The crop diversification policy led to the introduction of new crops such as soya beans and cashew nuts, and to the transfer of some crops from one region to another in order to improve the quality and productivity of commercial crops already in production: pineapples and rubber, amongst others. Finally, other commercial crops were to play a vitally important role in the economic development strategy and the struggle against regional disparities: cotton in the north; and oil palm and coconuts in the south.

In the north three crops were launched to enable the peoples of the area to increase their monetary incomes: paddy rice, sugar-cane and cotton.

The cultivation of seed cotton enabled the producers and the various producing regions to procure not insignificant receipts, as Table 7.1 A and B shows.

Table 7.1 A
Output and producer incomes

Season Total production (metric tons) Prices per kg (Francs CFA) Total producer incomes (million Francs CFA)
1980-81 136.603 80 10,928
1981-82 135.370 80 10,829
1982-83 156,981 80 12,559
1983-84 142.283 100 14.228

Table 7.1 B
Production by region

(metric tons)

Season North West Centre
1980-81 62.136 43.604 30,863
1981-82 68.945 38.048 28,377
1982-83 69.476 48.507 38,999
1983-84 72.822 43,709 25,752
1983-84 value in million Francs CFA 7.282.2 4,370.9 2,575.2

Source: Bulletin de l'Afrique Noire 1257, 24 January 1985, p. 8.

Of total production of seed cotton, once ginned, 25% went to local industries and 75% for export, the value of exports increasing from 14,593 million CFA Francs in 1980 to 31,929 in 1983.10

In the south oil palm and coconuts play a key role in the Ivory Coast's agro-industrial policy. The oil palm programme, launched by the government in 1963, was entrusted to the 'Société pour le développement et l'exploitation du palmier à l'huile' (Oil palm development and exploitation company) which subsequently became a state company. Palmindustrie, with outside participation. Major investments in the oil palm and coconut programme, totalling 83.4 billion Francs CFA, were financed by the Ivorian state, the World Bank, the EEC and a few smaller bodies.11 In 1981-82 turnover reached 30 billion Francs CFA, due to bringing large areas of oil palms and coconuts into production.

This programme aimed to create industrial plantations with a very high technical level, around which Palmindustrie would develop and supervise village plantations to enable small peasants to increase their money incomes. Also, the possibilities of forage growing beneath the palms would be exploited

in order to carry on livestock farming. This programme made it possible to bring large areas of land into cultivation: for oil palms: 52,000 hectares of industrial plantations and 38.000 hectares of village plantations; and for coconut palms 19.000 hectares, and 10,000 hectares respectively.12 In Table 7.2A and B the respective productions of palm aggregates and copra may be seen in context.

Table 7.2A
Production of palm aggregates
('000 metric tons)

  1981-82 1982-83 1983-84
Industrial plantations(Palmindustrie) 500.8 514.6 503.3
Village plantations 197.1 176.7 176.1
Other industrial plantations 81.6 78.1 76.6
Total* 785.5 769.2 756.0

Table 7.2R.
Production of copra
('000 metric tons)

  1981-82 1982-83 1983-84
Industrial plantations (Palmindustrie) 15.83 20.10 21.79
Family plantations 13.16 13.82 6.69
Others 12T, SICOR, various 5.52 6.16 6.17
Total 34.51 40.08 34.65

* The total does not include natural palm groves' production.

Source: Bulletin de l'Afrique Noire 1257. 24 January 1985, pp. 10 and 11.

Virtually all the fruit produced in the oil palm and coconut plantations is processed locally, and today, the ivory Coast is the leading African exporter and the third world exporter of palm oil.

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