Agriculture in TogoTogo is a small country located on the Gulf of Guinea ,bordered by Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. Togo consists of six geographic regions. Yields from one region to another are uneven, with the lowest production area being the Savanes region - a zone that is exposed to a reduction in forest areas and land pressure. Regarding its soil, Togo has relatively rich soils (maize is grown on most of them). Lands in the Plateaux region are known for being fertile whereas, in Kara, lands are difficult to exploit due to the region’s rocky geomorphology. Togo has a tropical climate. In the south the rainy seasons occur from mid-April through June and from mid-September through October.
Its economy is largely based on agriculture , which accounts for almost 20% of the country’s GDP (World Bank statistics 2020) and two out of every three inhabitants of Togo depend on crop and livestock farming to live. Arable lands expand over 3.6 million hectares, which is 60% of the Togolese territory. Out of this area, 1.4 million hectares or 41% of the total area are sown. The major crops grown in Togo are corn, sorghum, rice, yams, manioc, peanuts, beans, and soy. Poultry farming is practiced by 80% of smallholder families. Togo’s major exports are coffee, cocoa, and cotton. However, despite the size of the country’s agricultural sector, more than half of the population suffers from food insecurity. Six out of every ten inhabitants of Togo live in poverty, most of them belonging to smallholder farming families.
Food crops make up 70% of all of Togo’s agricultural output. They are primarily destined to local consumption rather than exported. Regardless, they generate substantial, and “safe,” revenues for farmers, given the permanent demand of the domestic market. They include mainly grains and tubers. Grains, represent 56% of the calorie supply of plant-based foods consumed in Togo. Corn represented 51% of grains, followed by rice (20%), sorghum (17%), and wheat (9%) in the 2014-2017 while cassava (61.8% of all tubers) and yam (37.8%). In 2020, maize production for Togo was 950 thousand tonnes. It is grown by 1.5 million Togolese farmers across four agro-ecological zones, over more than 700,000 hectares (40% of total lands dedicated to food crops). In addition to being consumed by households (rural and urban), maize is also a major source of income.
Rice is grown mainly in the Savanes region. For farmers, it is relatively expensive to cultivate and they struggle against imports from Asia mainly. Togo produced more than 150,000 t of rice in 2020
Second-most grown grain, in terms of yield, sorghum is quite present in the farms of the Kara and Savanes regions. It is used mostly to make “tchoukoutchou”, a local drink. It is often grown together with millet. In terms of annual output, millet is the least popular grain in Togo. The combined outputs of sorghum and millet was at 303,000 tons in 2018.
Yam is mostly cultivated in Kpalimé and Bassar. It is mainly used to make “fufu,” which is a meal consumed in many West African countries. As for cassava, it is produced only in the south (Agoè, Tabligbo, Tsévié, Vogan, Aného). It can also be used to prepare fufu or be transformed into gari or tapioca.
Concerning legumes, Togo produces voandzou, beans, and groundnuts. For the latter, while annual yields were usually around 40,000 tons, they have been decreasing recently due to the closure of some peanut oil factories. In 2018, the country produced 208,000 tons of beans and cowpeas.
Main Togolese export crops are: cotton, coffee, cocoa, and palm oil. However, since the start of the green revolution, others like shea nuts, kola, and cashew have also joined this category.
Cotton is grown essentially in the Plateaux and Savanes regions, this cash crop recorded a major boom in 2011 and increased slightly the following years. Togo produces roughly 56,000–66,000 tonnes of cotton per year, but all of this is exported raw.
Coffee and cocoa were introduced to Togo by the Germans during the colonial period. Coffe production is dominated by smallholders who produce both coffee and cocoa. Both are are grown in south-western part of the country, along the border with Ghana. Production is concentrated in Agou, Kloto, Danyi and in the Plateaux region (Kpalimé, Atakpamé, and Badou. They are known as the “triangle de café et de cacao” (the triangle of coffee and cocoa)Together, they contribute 1.2% of the GDP and are grown by around 32,000 farmers.
Togo is the largest exporter of organic products to the European Union (EU). However, only 1% of the country’s arable lands are dedicated to organic farming. Also, this sector employs only about 40,000 people. It is driven by a strong external demand, especially for soybeans. In years 2018-2021 the production of soybeans soared from 24,000 tons to 35,000 tons. The sector employs nearly 300,000 people and soybeans is grown over around 67,000 hectares, which is 38% of the total area on which legumes are grown across the territory. Besides these cash crops, there is also palm oil (which is grown over around 7,000 ha, for an output of 61,800 tons in 2017), and pineapple (3,300 tons produced in 2018) The sub-sector of livestock production has contributed to the agricultural GDP with an average of almost 14%% in 2020. The main species found in Togo are: Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry (chickens, guinea fowl, turkeys, and ducks). In 2009, livestock number estimates included – cattle (307,500 heads), small ruminants (sheep and goats 1,657,400 and 1,870,000 heads respectively), pigs (308,450 head) and poultry (13,878,000). according to national statistics. According to the U.N. FAO, 5.3% or about 287,000 ha of Togo is forested, according to FAO. Togo had 42,000 ha of planted forest.. Most of the forest in Togo, 73%, is private, which is indicative of the major stakeholders. Wood production contributes 11% of Togo’s GDP, according to FAO. These are mainly wood fuels, sawn timber, poles and posts, and forest products including medicinal plants, fodder, household utensils. In the country, timber, firewood, charcoal, and even non-timber forest products (shea butter, honey) are mainly used by rural and urban populations, every day.
Fish production (mostly artisanal) catered for 3.6%of agricultural GDP. In 2014, the average fish production was 27,025 tons, of which 81% comes from the ocean and 19% from rivers, lagoons and fish farming. Eight fish species are found in these environments in which tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and the African cat fish (Clarias gariepinus) represent 80% of farmed species.