Agriculture is an important barometer of the economy, accounting for about 16 percent of GDP in 2020. Sixty percent of the workforce are engaged in food crop production. While Senegal’s overall economy grew by 6.1% in 2021, the agriculture sector slowed to 4.6% growth in 2021, after increasing 23.4% in 2020.
Despite agriculture’s importance, Senegal lies within the drought-prone Sahel region, with irregular rainfall and generally poor soils. As a result, Senegal relies on imports to meet approximately 70 percent of its food needs. The top food and beverage suppliers to Senegal are the European Union (48%), India (26%), Brazil (10%), China (10%), and Indonesia (6%). Imports from the United States account for less than 1% of Senegal’s total food imports. Top agricultural imports in Senegal are rice, wheat, corn, onions, palm oil, sugar, and potatoes. The top imports from the United States are feed grains (corn) and consumer-oriented products which include: sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings, fish oil, spices and non-alcoholic beverage. Given the significant volume of food and agricultural products imported by Senegal there are a variety of top prospects for U.S. food and agriculture exports.
President Macky Sall’s economic program focuses on agriculture as an engine for development and his administration has pledged to invest $4 billion in the sector between 2019-2023 through Program of Acceleration of the Rate of Senegalese Agriculture (PRCAS II). The agricultural plan calls for massive investments in irrigation and rural roads, access to finance through the creation of a Guarantee Fund, the construction of storage facilities, the development of the fishing sector, and the creation of an agricultural stock exchange market. U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Senegal totaled $6.5 million in 2021. Senegal ranked number 134 among U.S. Agricultural export markets. In 2021, top ten U.S. agricultural exports to Senegal included food preparations, condiments and sauces, vegetable oils (excluding soybeans), fish and seafood, other consumer goods, rice, fresh vegetable, non-alcohlic beverage (excluding juices), forest products, and other intermediate goods. Top prospects for U.S. agricultural exports to Senegal include feeds and grains and select consumer-oriented products.
- Senegal has growing demand for tractors, farming equipment, expanded irrigation systems, postharvest handling systems, storage, and silo facilities.
- Increased commodity output should also stimulate demand for processing technology or innovation and growth in the packaging industry. There are plans for a cereal (import oriented) and fruit (export oriented) terminal and associated warehousing facilities in the Port of Dakar.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is represented in Senegal by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar. The FAS Dakar office also covers seven other countries in West Africa: Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Gambia, and Mauritania. FAS works to improve foreign market access for U.S. agricultural, fish and forestry products and operates programs designed to build new markets and improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace.
The primary role of FAS Dakar is to advise U.S. exporters and to increase U.S. market presence by focusing resources on viable product categories sought after by buyers in the region. The FAS office also works on detection and elimination of trade barriers; analysis of and reporting on the regional agricultural situation, outlook, and market opportunities for U.S. agricultural, fish and forest products; and representation of U.S. agricultural policies to the trade and public in the region. FAS Dakar works in conjunction with marketing partners such as U.S. trade associations, State departments of agriculture, small businesses, and cooperatives to implement a unified export strategy.
FAS provides a range of free services to assist U.S. exporters of agricultural products in achieving export success. More detailed information can be obtained by contacting:
Foreign Agricultural Service - U.S. Embassy Dakar
Route des Almadies B.P 49 Dakar, Senegal
Tel: (+221) 33 879 40 00
Information on FAS global services can be found at FAS Online.
The Ministry of Agriculture
USDA Exporter Guide
FONSIS – Senegal Sovereign Wealth Fund
USAID Economic Growth Office
West Africa Trade Hub