Market Focus: West Africa Market Profile

The population of the West African region is increasing rapidly, causing exponential growth in demand for meats and fish. Livestock farming is beginning to boom due to government support and the efforts of farmers and businessmen to make money from the lucrative demand for these products. However, compound feed production across the continent remains low and, due to inefficiencies and infrastructure challenges, feed suppliers from the U.S., Europe and South America dominate the African market.

The feed industries in Senegal and Nigeria are mature but compound feed production is non-existent or in very early stages of development elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria has the potential to be a significant corn and sorghum importer, depending on local crop conditions. About 60 percent of corn produced in Nigeria is used to manufacture animal feed, and nearly 90 percent of all animal feed produced in Nigeria is used by poultry farmers.

“Nigeria is already Africa’s most populous country by far and it is expected to double in size to 400 million people by 2050,” said Mohamed Salah Bouthour, USGC assistant regional director in Africa. “The animal feed industry will experience a surge in demand over the coming decades, creating an opportunity for U.S. producers to help the country’s growth with quality feed grains.”

Alongside chicken, fish is the dominant animal protein in Nigeria and accounts for around 40 percent of its total protein intake, with consumption sitting at 29 pounds per person each year. Total fish production is close to 1 million metric tons (MT) per year (313,231 MT from aquaculture and 759,828 MT from fisheries) with 90 percent of that fish being consumed domestically.

Since 2000, aquaculture feed production in Sub-Saharan Africa has seen an average growth of 11 percent per year. In West Africa, aquaculture is focused on catfish (80 percent) and tilapia (20 percent) because of high household demand for fish-based protein due to its low price.

Senegal is one of the most stable and promising countries in West Africa, showing strong economic growth over the past five years. Senegal’s expanding feed industry is controlled by five major players and produces around 500,000 MT of feed per year. Feed mills purchase imported ingredients such as corn and soybean meal, as well as local products like peanut meal, amino acid, vitamins, fish meal and calcium to produce mainly broiler and layer chicken feed. Poultry diets comprise more than 80 percent of manufactured feed in Senegal.

Through a combination of the Council’s efforts and local educational programming, Senegalese feed millers made history in marketing year 2021/22 by importing the West Africa region’s first ever U.S. corn co-product cargo in the form of containerized corn fermented protein.

“As a result of the Council’s engagement in West Africa for the last few years, 1,000 metric tons of U.S. corn co-products have recently been sold,” Bouthour said. “This marks the first sale of corn co-products into this area and further Council programs in the region will lead to expanded sales in the near future, opening and developing new markets in West Africa for the U.S. grain industry.”

The Council will continue to develop business relationships in the area through the use of the Feed Training Center, established in Tunisia in 2018, as a regional training complex to keep up with rising feed demand. This includes a focus on enhancing technical knowledge and improving feed efficiency within the West African feed industry and emphasizing the advantages of U.S. feed grains over its competitors. The Council will also highlight the value of including U.S. corn co-products in poultry and dairy feed rations to producers by educating local partners on the uses and benefits of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).