In Senegal, the war of the peanut rages between chinese exporters and olive oil local

Harvesting of peanuts in the village of Guint Kaye, near Kaolack, in January 2020. SEYLLOU / AFP Research seeds desperately. In Senegal, the first results of t

01 January 2021 Friday 23:39
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In Senegal, the war of the peanut rages between chinese exporters and olive oil local
Harvesting of peanuts in the village of Guint Kaye, near Kaolack, in January 2020. SEYLLOU / AFP

Research seeds desperately. In Senegal, the first results of the marketing campaign of the peanut, which began at the end of November, will reassure not Modou Diagne Fada, director general of the Société nationale de commercialisation des oléagineux du Sénégal (Sonacos), the main oil-mill public of the country, which employs 2 000 workers, permanent or seasonal. For the moment, not a single seed came in its factory in Zinguinchor, Casamance (south-west). And only 4 000 tonnes of groundnuts were collected in the rest of the country, mainly in the region of Louga (north-west). The amounts are trivial compared to the industrial needs of the company, estimated to be between 200 000 and 400 000 tonnes.

The problem is not of the crops are excellent this year for this culture, which represents the first source of income for the local farmers – " the gold of Senegal ", as some call it. Thanks to the rains are exceptional, the production amounted to 1.8 million tons of peanuts, compared to 1.4 million the previous year. But the local processors do not benefit much. "A parallel circuit, powered by foreign exporters, offers remunerative prices, laments the boss of the mill. As an industry, we cannot follow because we have to then transform the raw material, grind, refine and package, not to mention the costs of staff and electricity... "

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This year, the floor price has been set at 250 CFA francs (eur 0.38) per kilo of unshelled peanuts. "But we have seen foreign exporters, especially chinese, to go directly into the bush and negotiate up to 350 CFA francs per kilo with the producers," said Samuel Ndour, the national Union of workers of the industries of body fat, which amounts to punishment of a tour in the groundnut basin, between Diourbel and Kaolack (west). This is where are produced the best peanuts, the plant of which the seed is consumed shelled – peanut – or pressed to extract the oil.

"unfair Competition"

The chinese traders are very present since that Dakar has entered into an agreement with Beijing in 2014, renewed in 2019. An opening in the chinese market, which has increased exponentially exports : up to 400 000 tonnes in 2019. The asian giant is now the largest importer of peanuts in senegal.

The local industrial denounce, them, of " unfair competition ", like the trade unionist Samuel Ndour, who recalls that last year, only the Sonacos, on the four oil mills in the country, was able to collect 28 000 tonnes of seed. A quantity, however, too low to run the plant. Modou Diagne Fada has diversified its activities : "We have produced vinegar and bleach and we have resumed imports of crude oil to refine in our factories and distribute it to the consumers. We have paid our charges and faces up to the crisis. "

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But the risks are great if the same pattern is reproduced in the course of the current campaign arachidière, meant to end at the end of may. "Some factories will have to close their doors because they can't stay two years without work. And if the local industry dies, the whole chain dies, predicts Samuel Ndour, revolted. We must not allow the exporters to sell all the production and we leave with empty hands. "

The authorities say to be on the side of the olive oil, which " contribute strongly to growth and job creation ", as stated at the beginning of December the president Macky Sall, stressing the importance of " preserving the industrial tool of the national ". "We're going to follow exports in order to know as if this compromises the seed pool of the Senegal or the viability of the companies that produce the oil ", has also sought to reassure the minister of agriculture, Moussa Baldé.

A new tax

in order To deter foreign buyers from all snag, a new tax has been put in place, 30 CFA francs per kilo of seeds of peanut kernels exported. It could bring in $ 12 billion CFA francs (18.3 million euros) and the senegalese State, according to the minister of agriculture. "This tax must be sustainable and flexible and adapt to changes in international prices, in order to stay competitive," insists, however, Habib Thiam, president of the Collective of producers and exporters of seeds of peanuts (Copega), for which " the export of raw materials is a necessary evil."

Since the interests of producers are not necessarily those of the transformers. In Senegal, 27 % of households – or about 1 million people – cultivate the peanut. And their priority is to sell their crops at a good price.

on the side of The oil mills, the actions implemented by the authorities are considered insufficient to save the industry arachidière. One of the first steps would be to rehabilitate the "tools of production old of the five plants of the Sonacos, ensures its director general :" to Improve some of our workshops would reduce our production costs and increase our rate of return. "And thus be more competitive in this price war. The head of the company is still seeking partners to fund the $ 75 billion CFA francs necessary for this rehabilitation.

Modou Diagne Fada is pushing for a better organisation of the sector, where exporters would come on the commercial market once the capital of seed is saved, and that the oil mills are supplied. "The foreigners must continue to buy the overproduction, but they could go through the olive oil, which would become the platform for export," he proposes. A suggestion endorsed by the unionists. "The foreigners have been introduced on the market senegalese to be able to sell off the surplus and not to take only what we need to live," says Samuel Ndour.

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Updated: 01.01.2021 23:39