Agriculture sector in the Ivory Coast: the case for cocoa, rubber and palm oil

Agricultural landscape

Ivory Coast is a leading agricultural powerhouse. The Government has drafted a National Plan of Agriculture Investment (2012-2015) which aims to triple production and increase processing units, creating opportunities in the sector.

Market overview

In 2012, agriculture accounted for 25% of the country’s GDP. It is the main activity of more than 70% of the Ivorian population and represents between 40 to 70% of exports. Since the early 2000s, the sector has lacked new investment to increase productivity through mechanised farming techniques and industrialisation. Despite this, revenue is still increasing (e.g. 1st processing of cocoa grew from £425 million in 2005 to £735 million in 2009).

Main Agricultural Sectors:

Cocoa: Ivory Coast is the leading producer of cocoa in the world, accounting for 40% of all cocoa produced. Even so, only about 30% of that production is processed locally.

Opportunities: Regeneration of farms, furnishing of new and more efficient equipment, training on organic/eco-friendly productions methods.

Palm Oil: Having produced 400,000 tons in 2010, Ivory Coast is the world’s 8th biggest producer of palm oil and one of the top producers in Africa. The main actor in this sector in the country generated revenues of approximately £415 million in 2009.

Opportunities: Farms are getting older – resulting in about 40% in losses in production – and crop returns are 2 to 3 times lower than in the leading Asian countries (Indonesia and Malaysia). Better exploitation of farms is necessary. There is also a strong need to increase the number of producers to generate economies of scale, experiment in utilising palm oil by-product for biomass and bioenergy, increase processing units for palm wine, and tap into the application of palm oil in the non-food sector, especially the pharmaceutical industry.

Rubber: The Ivorian rubber industry increased production from 231,000 tons in 2010 to 240,000 tons in 2011. Ivory Coast is the 8th leading world producer of rubber. Falling far behind powerhouses such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, where production ranges in the millions of tonnes.

Opportunities: There is major potential for rubber in Ivory Coast. Processing units currently cover only around 2% of production and are not diversified. In addition, there are a small number of major actors in the market.

Apart from these three sectors, coffee, cashew nut, rice, and maize offer considerable opportunities – from farming to the processing of semi-finished and finished goods.

The Government of Ivory Coast has identified 9 agricultural projects which will require investment of approximately $916 million (21% of public projects).

Key opportunities

  • Good quality farm inputs (herbicides, insecticides, etc.)

  • Advances in agro-industry (mechanized solutions to increase yields)

  • Training/consultation in agribusiness

Latest export opportunities in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Fisheries sector

Latest export opportunities in Ivory Coast

Getting into the market

The procedures vary depending on the type of investment/trade you are looking for. To acquire land for farming, the following is required:

  • An MOU signature with the Government

  • Field visit

  • Feasibility studies

  • Business plan

  • Signature of a land lease contract

It is important to mention that French is the official language and very few civil servants speak English. Face to face interactions are more effective than letters/emails.

There is a new investment code which offers many tax advantages for investors.

More about doing business in Ivory Coast


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Fisheries sector

Useful links

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Sectors: Agriculture, Horticulture & Fisheries
Countries: Ivory Coast
Export Action Plan