The West African climate offers a perfect environment to grow mangoes and cassava, of which the demand is growing, providing opportunities for importers in Europe, the United States, and the rest of the African continent.
Increasing demand for mangoes
Mango, also known as ‘king of fruits’, is a popular tropical fruit of which the consumption is rising. About 1.5 million tons of mangoes are produced in West Africa annually and exports from the region include fresh mangoes, mango juice, mango pulps, and dried mangoes. Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, and Mali are major contributors in the production of mangoes, but Senegal and Guinea Bissau are also high potentials.
These countries form a group called West African Regional Mango Alliance/l’Alliance Régionale de la Mangue de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (WARMA/ARMAO). Actors of the value chain, such as nurseries, farmers, rural assemblers, processors, and exporters, are united and together they can get the best out of their investment in mango production.
West Africa as a frontrunner on the global cassava market
Cassava is one of the most important tropical root crops in West Africa. Nigeria holds the leading position in the market, representing the largest cassava producer around the globe. But cassava from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have also strong potential.
- In Côte d’Ivoire, one of the sectors prioritized by the National Export Strategy is the cassava sector. This sector was selected on the basis of its export potential, combined with competitiveness criteria and socio-economic impact including job creation for both women and youths.
- Cassava is the most important root crop in Ghana. According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the estimated total land cultivated with cassava production is 900,000 hectares. In Ghana, over 70% of farmers engage in cassava production, and the sector contributes to about 22% of Agricultural GDP. Ghana ranks among the top five cassava producers in Africa with an annual average production of sixteen million metric tons. At least eighteen different improved varieties of cassava are produced in commercial quantities for diverse uses.
- Cassava for food dominates the current usage in Sierra Leone. A little percentage is, however, used for animal feed and other cottage industries. After the devastating effects of the Ebola crisis on the social and economic situation of the country, the action to include cassava as one of the priority areas to support was made. It is also set as a strategy to stimulate economic growth, support the private sector involvement, and generate new job opportunities, especially for the youth and women.
- Cassava is grown everywhere throughout Liberia, and it is the first staple protein (consumption of roots and leaves) food consumed in the country. The root crop is also important because it can generate income and food for poor rural households on a small-scale level. Liberia provides a strong basis for investors in cassava value addition such as gari, cassava flour, high-quality cassava starches, and adhesives.