Agriculture and animal husbandry
Agriculture in Togo is dominated by smallholdings. The cultivation takes place in the family association with almost exclusively traditional cultivation methods, without mineral fertilizers or machines, and usually ensures self-sufficiency with basic foodstuffs. The demographic development increases the population pressure on the scarce land resources, which can ultimately only be countered by increasing yields.
As cash crops are cotton, coffee, cocoa and oil crops grown. Jam, cassava, corn, millet / sorghum, rice, beans, peanuts, sugar cane and a number of other crops and fruit plants are cultivated for personal use. According to FAO statistics, jams, cocoa beans, corn and cassava are the main agricultural products. Togo is a member of the COPAL – Cocoa Producers’ Alliance and the Africa Rice Center.
The government has made the expansion of agriculture an important goal. In the economic strategy paper for 2018-2022, the Plan National du Developpement (PND), the focus is on the expansion of the logistics industry and the industrialization of agriculture. The construction of several industrial agricultural centers is planned, the first so-called Agropol is to be built in the northern Kara. The PND also plans to support young people and women in particular in setting up agricultural businesses. In an interview, the Togolese Minister of Agriculture speaks about the new agricultural policy and the planned transformation of the sector.
According to historyaah, the Togolese entrepreneur Edeh Dona ETCHRI has developed the digital platform E-Agribusiness, on which buyers and sellers can network. Information on market prices, weather forecasts, production and contacts can be sent via SMS and thus also reach the remote regions. These services have also been available via Agriwhatsapp since 2019. To make the data accessible to illiterate people, there is also a telephone hotline in local languages. The corresponding mobile phone app has already received awards for its innovation in 2016. The platform now connects almost 20,000 players in different countries. In summer 2019, it was decided to work with a Chinese company that wants to increase agricultural productivity with the help of drones.
Among other things, the government wants to take advantage of the growing global demand for organic soy. The production of food in organic quality is increasingly being expanded and, above all, exported. Fruits from Togo can also be found on the European markets, partly in organic quality or as dried fruits.
Every first Saturday of the month there is a ‘farmers market’ in Lomé, where you can also find a whole range of organic products. At the ‘la fête du chocolat et du cacao’ Choco Togo held for the first time by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2016, the first organic chocolate produced in Togo was proudly presented and recently at the chocolate fair in Brussels.
The livestock is less aligned as breeding or fattening, but is operated extensively. These are chickens, goats, pigs, sheep and in the north also cattle. In Togo, too, tensions occasionally arise between the livestock owners and the arable farmers. Probably the most popular, but also the most expensive meat comes from the grasscutter or agouti (aulacode), the domestication of which began only a few decades ago.
The fishing is more traditional than the film example shows. Overall, fishing accounts for 4.5% of GDP and additional fish and meat have to be imported to meet our own needs. Togo also complains about illegal industrial fishing off the coast and is trying to develop strategies to protect against poaching together with neighboring countries.
From a macroeconomic perspective, Togolese forestry is of less importance. The most important trees in the afforestation programs and plantings are teak and eucalyptus trees. From the fruit of the shea tree is Shea or Shea butter obtained, which is used as cooking oil, but also in organic cosmetics. The neem tree can also be used in a variety of ways, so the active ingredient-rich plant parts are used in traditional medicine, in agriculture as insecticides and pesticides and the oil obtained from the seeds is used, among other things, as a basis for soap production.
In Togo, the traditional land use law applies, especially in rural areas in addition to the cadastral system introduced by the colonial administration, which has prevailed mainly in the urban environment. Some land users (tenants) are not allowed to plant trees, as ownership claims can be derived from them. According to tradition, women in northern Togo are disadvantaged by patrilineal inheritance law. A study deals with land transactions in south-west Togo and describes the problems that arise with the increasing competition for land and resources.