Sugar cane cultivation began in Côte d’Ivoire in 1964. It was one of the main cash crops in the region. In October 1971, Sodesucre was created as a State corporation for the development of sugar cane plantations in order to meet national consumption.
The political crisis of 2002 and the socio-economic difficulties which ensued negatively affected the production of sugar. However, with the help of the European Union, a special program was established in 2007 to relaunch the sugar sector. This project aims to improve the competitiveness of village plantations, rehabilitate abandoned factories and revitalize agronomic research for the creation of many jobs.
The importance of sugar in the Ivorian economy
Sugar cane cultivation has long been the only industrial activity in the north of the country and therefore contributed enormously to the creation of jobs for the population. It accounts for 54% of the output of WAEMU countries. In 2005, the turnover of the two sugar companies SUCAF-CI and SUCRIVOIRE was approximately 11.5 billion CFA francs.
Total sales of individual cane growers are 1.21 billion CFA Francs. The wholesalers and retailers selling the Ivorian sugar represent a market valued at 50 billion CFA francs.
Road hauliers registered an amount of about 3.5 billion CFA francs for the transport of inputs to the processing plants and for the evacuation of the sugar produced.
The main production areas are the regions of Poro, Tchologo, Bagoué, Folon, Kabadougou, Worodougou, Bafing and Marahoué. Annual production increased as follows:
- 1974: 4, 900 tons
- 1997: 130,000 tons
- 2006: 144 801 tons
- 2013: 214 000 tons.
Côte d'Ivoire's sugar production is ranked 53rd in the world and 16th in Africa.
Village farmers who are estimated to be about 2,400 are clustered around large plantations and large industrial companies.
There are two main agro-industrial companies: Sucrivoire and Sucaf-CI.
Exportation is mainly towards the European Union and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) areas (22%)
Local consumption represents 78% of the Ivorian sugar outlet.
Historically, there are six processing plants across the country, four of which are still functional. They include:
- Ferke 1 created in December 1974
- Ferke 2 created in December 1978
- Borotou-Koro created in January 1979
- Zuenoula created in January 1980.
In 2005-2006, the Ivorian industry processed 1,420,439 tons of cane and produced 144,801 tons of sugar, including 59,816 tons of brown sugar and 84,985 tons of white sugar.
- Poor organization of village cane farmers
- Low input supply
- Importation of sugar in spite of Côte d'Ivoire's ability to cover national needs
- Profitability of the Ivorian sugar sector
- Existence of local and global markets
- Production areas are very suitable for the cultivation of sugarcane
- Côte d'Ivoire has the first sugar industry in the WAEMU zone