COTE D’IVOIRE – The Ivorian government has implemented a six-month ban on the export of food products effective January 15, 2024, in a bid to secure food security and address production shortfalls.

The decision, jointly announced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Production, the Ministry of Finance and Budget, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, aims to guarantee a steady supply of food to the local market.

The suspension includes approximately twenty agricultural products and their derivatives, encompassing cereals (corn, rice, millet, sorghum, and fonio), tubers (cassava and yam), as well as fruits and vegetables (plantain and peppers).

The move follows a previous ban on rice and sugar exports imposed between September and December 2023 as part of broader measures to combat the high cost of living and maintain regular supplies to the national market.

Côte d’Ivoire relies heavily on its agricultural sector, which contributes about 16.7% to the country’s GDP.

Cashew nuts, cocoa, and rubber are significant export crops, but the agricultural sector also plays a crucial role in ensuring food security for the population.

The recent export suspension comes at a time when the country is hosting the 34th edition of the African Cup of Nations (CAN), attracting an influx of visitors.

The authorities anticipate increased food consumption, particularly in urban areas, and are taking proactive measures to prevent any supply-demand imbalances during this period.

Production shortfalls in certain agricultural commodities have prompted concerns, with speculation cited as a contributing factor.

The government’s decision to control food exports aims to avoid exacerbating the challenges and to maintain stability in domestic food markets.

The opposition, represented by the Parti Democratique de Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), has raised alarms about the country’s diminishing food production surpluses.

Soumaila Bredoumy, the PDCI spokesman, highlighted stagnating or declining productivity in some agricultural sectors, leading to potential consumer price increases in the near future.

Bredoumy specifically pointed out challenges in the sugar industry, where a deficit and issues of competitiveness are affecting the livelihoods of 60,000 people involved in the sector.

The government’s decision to suspend food exports underscored the urgency of addressing agricultural challenges to ensure food security for the population, particularly during high-profile events such as the African Cup of Nations.

The effectiveness of these measures will be closely monitored over the next six months.

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