April 8, 2016
In 2011, 58.7 percent of the total population of Togo, and 73.4 percent of its rural population, lived under the national poverty line. Sixty percent of Togolese live in rural communities, which account for more than three quarters of the country’s poor. Agriculture accounts for about 40 percent of GDP and employs more than 50 percent of the labor force. In 2013, exports of food products and cotton amounted to slightly more than fifteen percent of the country’s trade exports, with cotton remaining one of Togo’s main exports.
Even though no precise figures are available, it is believed that the majority of Togolese agriculture relies on small-scale farms combining food crops (maize, sorghum, millet, yams, cassava, etc.) for self-consumption and cash crops such as cotton, and to a lesser extent coffee or coco. It is estimated that only 45 percent of the country’s arable land is actually used, with less than one percent of it being equipped for irrigation. However, only about two hectares of land, on average, were available for each person employed in agriculture in 2012.