As we pointed out in our recent articles on Senegal: Why Export to Senegal? and How to Negotiate with Distributors, Importers, Representatives and Sales Agents in Senegal, there are many opportunities and advantages to be found in the Senegalese market for those Spanish companies which are contemplating entering the market there.
This new chapter will concentrate on the primary sector which is one of the driving forces behind the Senegalese economy and one in which Catalan companies will find many openings: Agriculture and Consumer Goods.
Agriculture accounts for 7’2% of the GNP, but almost 70% of direct or indirect employment. It is a key sector and a lever in sustaining growth in the economy, assuring reliable food supplies, keeping up employment and reducing poverty. It is considered a key sector by the Senegalese government and one which they are very anxious to expand. There are a number of factors that make the country a very attractive proposition for those intending to invest in agriculture and/or associated processing industries. On one hand, the climate is ideal for out-of- season supplies to the European market. On another, the local market is expanding steadily as increased urbanisation sucks population from the countryside into the cities and towns which makes it a viable proposition to substitute those goods which have, until now, been imported for local produce. A further element to be factored in are the excellent sea and air communications with the principal markets in Europe.
Most agricultural production is concentrated in the valleys, estuaries and deltas of the main rivers of the country. The Senegal River which is the northern border with Mauritania and the Casamance River in the strip between Guinea Bissau and Gambia in the south.
There is very little industrial agriculture which is, practically, limited to peanuts, sugar and cotton with industrialised tomato bringing up the rear. The main crop is the peanut which is cultivated in the central and eastern regions of the country. Apart from its economic relevance, peanut farming plays a considerable social role in Senegal. Seven out of ten farmers produce peanuts and it is calculated that one third of the population relies, directly or indirectly, on this crop. Other crops include drought-resistant cereals such as millet and sorghum in the central and northern regions and a certain amount of rice in the river basins, but the country remains import dependant as far as rice is concerned.
Senegal is the world’s leading exporter of peanut oil which is second only to the export of fish products and well in front of cotton.
As far as fruit and vegetables are concerned, production is, to all intents and purposes, limited to supplying local demand which accounts for 95% of total capacity.
In a nutshell, out-of-season crops afford a great opportunity for growth and investment especially in view of the government’s plans to increase production and added value within the framework of REVA (Return to Agriculture) a macro-project covering the whole country by setting up specialised, high production hubs all over the territory.
Animal husbandry is a noteworthy sub-group of the primary sector which is 27% of the total and 3’85 of GNP. Cattle, sheep and goats are the principal farm animals. However, milk production is far outstripped by demand which is met by the import of powdered milk for milk produce.
The sea-going fishing industry is the country’s principal source of foreign currency and represents 12’4% of the primary industry’s GNP and 2’8% of the total.
For further information on how we can help you develop your import or export business in Senegal, please contact:
Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in Dakar.
The Principal Economic Sectors of Senegal: Industry and Services.