This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Historically, Guinea was the major agricultural producer among the colonies of French West Africa. The sector subsequently collapsed after independence from France, making Guinea a net food importer despite its immense agricultural potential. Agricultural production is, with few exceptions, at the smallholder/subsistence level. Nonetheless, foreign firms are looking to invest in agricultural projects in Guinea, such as rice production in the northern region of Boke. The government is currently self-funding the construction of a rice irrigation project on the Koundian plain outside of Kankan.
Former President Conde’s government was eager to reinvigorate the agricultural sector, but Guinea remains heavily reliant upon processed food imports. The poor condition of transportation routes in the interior of the country means that much of the population depends upon processed and easily transported food products. There is no cold chain transportation network, and Guinea does not export much of its agricultural output at a large scale due to the poor state of the roads.
According to the October 2020 World Bank Group report on Creating Markets, key constraints to developing Guinea’s agriculture sector include access to land, access to finance, poor road and transport services, and trade logistics. Like other manufacturing sectors, agri-processing is also negatively affected by low firm capabilities (technology, research and development, and innovation) and labor skills, while power remains an issue in the short term. The resulting raw material production, combined with ongoing improvements in the power sector, increase the feasibility of agri-processing industries, which will bring higher levels of competitiveness and productivity and better-quality employment. Guinean producers have little or no access to short-term loans or guaranteed markets, so it is difficult for them to make capital improvements to their farms. Poor or nonexistent infrastructure compounds the problem, as producers have little access to cold storage or good roads. As a result, it is hard to get produce to local markets before it starts to spoil, let alone transport it overseas. Some producers are making the transition to dried foodstuffs, which are easier to transport, but most lack the necessary machinery to make this a large-scale operation.
While sophisticated producers are aware of U.S. sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, it is difficult for them to comply with these regulations. There is potential for Guinea to export bananas, pineapples, potatoes, mangoes, and other plants/fruits/vegetables if these problems are overcome. This could lead to significant investment opportunities for U.S. businesses.
Both rice and wheat flour are staples of the Guinean diet, and domestic production is currently unable to meet demand. While there is major domestic production of rice, imported products are generally much cheaper, especially close to the coast, and therefore more popular. Rice is the largest imported food item in Guinea, making up almost 40 percent of all food imports. In 2020, Guinea imported USD 239 million in rice, becoming the 38th largest importer of rice in the world. Guinea imports rice primarily from: India ($202M), China ($22.3M), Myanmar ($7.8M), Thailand ($3.88M), and Pakistan ($1.55M). The second largest food import is wheat flour. Flour imports originate largely from France and Morocco.
Areas that may offer potential for U.S. exporters are rice and wheat, along with livestock feed. For interested U.S. exporters, Guinea is eligible for one USDA export program: the GSM-102 Export Credit Guarantee Program. For further information, please contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Credit Programs Division, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Mail Stop 1025, Washington, D.C. 20250-1025 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are opportunities in production and processing of rice, pineapples, fonio, potatoes, vegetables, mangos, dried fruits, coffee, eggs and juices. American processed food brands are well-respected and preferred over Asian imports as being higher-quality and safer to consume. That said, they are generally sold as premium products at prices higher than the average Guinean can afford.