Cover Image
close this bookThe Crisis in African Agriculture - Studies in African Political Economy (UNU, 1987, 99 pages)
close this folder1: The performance of African agriculture, 1950-1980
View the documentBasic data and broad trends
View the documentAgricultural situation
View the documentConclusion

Agricultural situation

While the situation of African agriculture is quite critical overall, there is nevertheless a certain disparity of situations between countries or groups of countries. Thus, during the decade 1960-70, of 50 countries, 17 increased their per capita food production, with increases ranging from about 5% to 50%. The most striking performances were achieved by Swaziland (over 50% increase), Tanzania (over 40%), Burundi, Libya, Malawi, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Zaire and Cameroon. Over the same decade 20 countries experienced significant declines in production varying from 5% to 35%. The most significant declines were recorded in Senegal (a decline of almost 35%), Chad 25%, Congo 20%, Mali, Nigeria, Algeria (about 15%). Thirteen countries remained relatively unchanged.

Table 5. Africa's Share in World Production of Food and Export Crops (in %)


1948-52

1971-72

Maize

7

10

Millet and sorghum

17

13

Wheat

2.7

2.6

Rice

2.1

2.5

Barley

6

3

Potatoes

0.5

0.8

Sweet potatoes and yams

23

16

Cassava

50

40

Coffee

12.5

27

Cocoa

65

72

Tea

3

9

Tobacco

5

6

Cotton

9

11

Sources: Calculated by the author from data in FAO production yearbooks.

During the decade 1970-80, the situation deteriorated sharply. Of 47 countries for which statistics were available, only seven had increases in per capita production ranging from 5% to 30% approximately: Tunisia, Libya, Cameroon, Zambia, Sudan, Burundi, Ivory Coast. Twenty-nine countries had declines of between 5% and 25%.

The worst performances were recorded in the following countries: Mauritania, Ghana, Togo, Morocco, Nigeria, Algeria, Ethiopia, Niger, Angola, Mali, Uganda (see FAO yearbooks).

Table 6 summarizes the evolution of the main sectors of the economy by country for the periods 1960-70 and 1970-76. It shows the annual average growth rates by sector as well as the contribution to GDP. This table confirms the deterioration of the situation during the 1970s compared to the 1960s. Of the 37 countries listed in the table about 20 saw their average annual agricultural production growth rate fall from one period to the other which resulted to some extent in a smaller contribution by the agricultural sector to GDP, whereas the considerable proportion of the population working in the sector remained almost unchanged. This fall led in most countries to a significant gap between production and consumption of agricultural products, as Table 7 shows for cereals. It can be observed that for all the countries mentioned, between 1969-71 and 1978, self sufficiency in cereals was generally not achieved. Thus net imports of cereals for the countries of the region were considerable, as Table 8 shows with data for 1969-71 to 1978.

Table 6. Evolution of the Main Sectors of the Economy by Country (1960-70, 1970-76) Average annual growth rate - Contribution to GDP by sector


Agriculture

Industry

Services


Growth rate

Cont. GDP

Growth rate

Cont. GDP

Growth rate

Cont. GDP


1960-70

70-76

60-70

70-76

60-70

70-76

60-70

70-76

60-70

70-76

60-70

70-76

1. Ethiopia

2.2

0.9

65

50

7.4

1.6

12

15

7.3

4.4

23

35

2. Mali

1.3

-0.8

55

38

4.0

8.9

10

17

4.4

5.5

35

45

3. Rwanda

-

3.3

81

52

-

8.4

7

22

-

3.5

12

26

4. Somalia

-1.5

-1.2

45

31

3.3

10.3

17

8

2.1

8.0

38

61

5. Burkina Faso

0.0

3.2

55

34

3.8

7.0

13

19

2.3

1.8

32

67

6. Burundi

-

1.0

-

64

-

4.3

-

15

-

1.1

-

21

7. Chad

1.8

- 1.3

55

52

3.9

8.1

12

14

2.9

-0.6

33

34

8. Benin

-

-0.3

-

39

-

9.8

-

20

-

6.0

-

41

9. Malawi

2.9

5.5

58

45

13.9

12.4

11

22

8.9

11.4

31

33

10. Zaire

3.9

1.9

30

16

35.9

5.0

27

30

-2.5

5.0

43

54

11. Guinea

2.1

10.2

-

43

6.2

3.9

-

33

2.2

3.2

-

24

12. Niger

3.3

-4.0

66

47

11.1

10.0

10

24

0.6

0.8

24

29

13. Lesotho

-

-

73

38

-

-

-

8

-

-

-

54

14. Mozambique

2.1

2.1

55

45

10.8

-3.8

9

15

5.8

-2.1

36

40

15. Tanzania

3.7

2.5

57

45

8.0

2.9

11

16

5.3

2.8

32

32

16. Madagascar

-

1.2

37

29

-

2.0

10

20

-

4.5

53

51

17. Sierra Leone

1.4

2.0

-

32

2.7

-30

-

23

4.2

4.0

-

45

18. Central Afr. Rep.

0.8

1.9

45

37

5.5

4.7

12

23

0.1

-1.8

43

40

19. Kenya

5.9

1.6

38

30

7.5

9.8

18

23

7.9

5.1

44

47

20. Uganda

2.8

1.3

52

55

7.8

-6.7

13

8

8.3

-3.2

35

37

21. Togo

4.3

3.0

55

25

7.3

7.0

16

21

8.8

3.7

29

54

22. Egypt

2.9

3.0

30

29

5.4

4.3

24

30

6.1

13.4

46

41

23. Cameroon

6.5

3.4

48

33

7.7

3.3

10

20

11.1

0.7

42

47

24. Sudan

3.3

8.8

58

41

1.7

2.8

15

16

-2.2

7.5

27

43

25. Angola

4.0

-0.7

50

29

9.8

11.6

8

27

3.9

3.0

43

44

26. Mauritania

2.4

-2.1

57

35

15.8

7.1

21

37

13.0

-1.0

22

28

27. Nigeria

-0.5

-0.2

63

23

13.8

12.6

11

50

5.2

9.5

26

27

28. Senegal

1.9

3.4

30

28

3.7

3.9

20

24

2.5

-0.1

50

48

29. Zambia

2.0

3.2

11

14

-0.1

3.4

63

41

8.1

4.4

26

45

30. Liberia

6.3

4.9

40

29

7.8

0.3

37

37

2.6

9.4

23

34

31. Congo

4.6

-7.2

16

15

7.6

22.6

18

43

2.4

7.0

68

42

32. Morocco

4.2

0.6

29

21

4.2

7.8

24

31

3.9

5.5

47

48

33. Zimbabwe

-

-

18

16

-

-

35

40

-

-

47

44

34. Ghana

3.7

1.3

41

49





- 1.4

3.8

40

26

35. Ivory Coast

4.2

3.5

43

25

11.6

7.9

14

20

10.0

7.7

43

55

36. Tunisia

2.0

9.2

24

21

8.7

10.1

18

30

2.9

9.7

58

49

37. Algeria

- 1.6

-8.7

21

7

10.5

16.4

24

57

2.3

-4.6

55

36

Table 7 Africa: Visible Per Capita1 Production and Consumption of Cereals in Certain Countries


Production

Visible consumption

Sub-region and country

1969-71

1972-74

1975-77

1978

1969-71

1972-74

1975-77

1978


Average Figure (kg./p.a.)

Average Figure (kg./p.a.)

North Africa


Algeria

141

118

101

146

177

254

224

281


Morocco

300

266

226

246

321

312

298

344


Total

187

172

161

184

215

231

226

266

Sahel


Mali

197

138

191

220

205

165

204

227


Niger

317

181

261

298

305

190

262

311


Burkina Faso

187

171

193

186

191

181

198

206


Total

196

143

174

194

214

174

198

233

West Africa


Guinea

175

141

142

140

185

156

157

159


Togo

151

109

114

132

159

119

122

147


Total

118

102

106

106

127

113

120

131

Central Africa


Angola

101

85

79

79

90

93

98

92


Central Afr. Rep.

58

64

49

42

65

73

55

45


Total

42

38

38

34

48

54

54

49

East and Southern Africa


Lesotho

199

170

154

172

234

229

202

271


Tanzania

104

82

92

97

107

97

106

108


Total

151

154

145

141

158

162

154

150

Other countries2


Egypt

196

190

186

186

230

272

277

313


Libya

56

89

104

113

239

252

277

325


Total

181

178

173

173

222

260

268

298

1Food and non-food uses.

2Invited members of the UN Economic Commission for Africa but not belonging to the regional conference.

Source: United Nations.

For the period under review imports of cereals more than tripled in North Africa. Those of Morocco and Algeria quadrupled. They quadrupled in the Sahel zone. Those of Chad increased almost ninefold. Niger, which exported almost 49,000 tons in 1969-71, imported 64,000 tons in 1978. For the rest of West Africa excluding the Sahel countries, imports tripled.

Table 8 Africa: Net Cereal Imports (000 tons)

Sub-regions

ACTUAL

Alternative Projections

and countries

1969-71

1972-74

1975-77

1978

1985


Average Figure


North Africa


Algeria

482

1,986

1,975

2,307

2,280

2,168


Morocco

308

770

1,302

1,872

2,395

1,693


Sudan

167

95

66

102

-168

-308


Tunisia

442

12

474

876

756

492


Total North Africa

1,399

3,163

3,817

5,157

5,263

4,045

Sahel


Cape Verde I.

36

39

35

69

39

34


Chad

10

28

16

87

322

322


Gambia

15

16

36

100

34

34


Mali

42

149

76

41

257

204


Mauritania

64

126

121

150

186

176


Niger

- 49

39

5

64

24

- 45


Senegal

291

357

443

501

636

507


Burkina Faso

24

54

30

122

299

306


Total Sahel

433

808

662

1,134

1,797

1,538

West Africa


Benin

20

29

39

81

87

55


Cameroon

86

113

83

119

181

211


Ghana

114

168

158

333

108

193


Guinea

41

61

55

94

134

8


Guinea-Bissau

28

30

28

30

29

21


Ivory Coast

141

213

162

370

320

343


Liberia

52

54

51

67

85

87


Nigeria

335

463

912

1,887

2,511

2,356


Sierra Leone

62

67

36

73

108

94


Togo

16

21

19

36

63

49


Total West Africa

895

1,219

1,543

3,090

3,626

3,417

Central Africa


Angola

-65

47

127

154

89

152


Central Afr. Rep.

12

16

10

5

29

43


Congo

29

35

32

67

73

78


Gabon

6

19

47

29

38

42


Sao Tome and Principe

6

7

6 9

8

8



Zaire

183

402

356

314

950

910


Total Central Africa

171

516

578

578

1,187

1,233

Eastern and Southern Africa


Botswana

54

70

41

53

100

69


Burundi

10

16

9

15

64

45


Comoros

16

15

13

18

23

22


Ethiopia

51

21

56

122

1,227

987


Kenya

- 94

83

30

99

403

227


Lesotho

36

66

56

121

94

65


Madagascar

18

100

117

260

331

301


Malawi

32

25

27

-

27

89


Mauritius

125

141

142

245

166

174


Mozambique

93

60

193

68

288

258


Swaziland

-

-

38

40




Tanzania

8

10

11

10

52

20


Uganda

6

7

7

10

11

11


Zambia

22

226

232

184

352

264


Total Eastern and Southern Africa

617

776

1,062

1,073

3,702

2,899

Total Africa

3,515

6,482

7,662

11,032

15,575

13,132

Other countries1


Djibouti

16

23

27

20

35

36


Egypt

1,123

2,938

3,504

5,111

5,278

4,805


Libya

367

370

550

570

575

433


Somalia

75

61

115

85

153

91


Total other countries

1,581

3,392

4,196

5,786

6,041

5,365

1Invited members of the UN Economic Commission for Africa but not belonging to the regional Conference.

Those of Nigeria increased fivefold, those of Benin fourfold. They also tripled in Central Africa. Angola, which used to export 10% of its production, came to import 21% of its consumption, and Gabonese imports went up fivefold.

Overall, it was eastern and southern Africa that had the lowest imports, the figures having not even doubled. There too, however, some countries faced particularly serious situations. Indeed, Tanzanian imports during the period increased more than eightfold, those of Ethiopia almost threefold. Madagascar imported most: 15 times more cereals in 1978 than in 1969-71. Egypt's imports, in the 'other countries' group, rose more than fourfold.

A number of countries stand out from this general deficit situation, however: these were net exporters or countries whose imports declined sharply. One such was Kenya which remained a net exporter and whose exports increased even further by 1978. In the rest of southern and eastern Africa, imports showed a declining trend in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda. In the other sub-regions, this downward trend can be observed only in the Central African Republic. It remains to be established whether or not these falls were due to inadequate means to finance imports.

As for food imports in the region, what has just been noted with regard to cereals is even more marked for some other basic food products. Thus, it is estimated that by 1985 milk import requirements will increase by 6.4% per annum and those of meat by 9.8%.

Food imports are thus rising year by year. On the basis of an index of 100 for 1969-71, the volume index of food imports for the region was 121 in 1972-74, 147 in 1975-77 and 210 in 1978. In value, between 1969-71 and 1978, imports rose by 389%. It goes without saying that for most countries that have serious external payments difficulties, this situation poses serious problems for food security and for economic development in general. Compared to that, international food aid destined for the region constituted only an addition of extremely limited scope. Thus, for example, the volume of food aid sent to the region increased by 25% per annum between 1974-75 and 1977-78. But that represented only 15% of cereal imports in the period.

Table 9 shows that calorie requirements are decidedly not being met. For the whole of Africa, calorie intake as a percentage of requirements was only 93 in 1969-71 and 94 in 1975-77. Considering the various sub-regions, it is only in North Africa that the norms could be met and this happened after 1972-74.