Africa is conquering its domestic food markets
This paper (PDF in French) by the French Development Agency (AFD), French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the Economic and Statistical Observatory for sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT) is the result of the study on domestic food markets in West Africa, Cameroon and Chad. This work was a synthesis of data from thirty-six national surveys between 2001 and 2011, of a total sample of almost 230 000 households. Food systems in sub-Saharan Africa have changed in recent decades, and many observers have failed to keep up. The results reveal the considerable importance of the domestic food markets compared to the export markets. This market is clearly dominated by local and regional products and has become a real driver of agricultural development. Rural food consumption is now largely market dependent, although self-provision remains significant. Food consumption in cities is characterized by high dependence on imported rice and wheat. These commodities, however, represent less than a third of the food budget of urban households. Animal products, other sauce products, and sweet products account for two-thirds of the expenditures and are largely dominated by local and regional products. Such a result nuances the vision of an externally dependent Africa to feed itself. The analysis of the origin of food consumed reveals the importance of the growing local agro-food sector, dominated by small-scale producers and SMEs, which connects local agricultural supply to urban food markets. This sector, which is not widely recognized by the authorities, is a major supplier of jobs in both rural and urban areas.