Review of Togolese agricultural policies from independence in 1960 to 2015
Various agricultural policies have been undertaken by Togolese policymakers since independence to respond to food insecurity issues. Therefore it has become imperative to review these policies and explain the reasons behind their failure for better orientation of future agricultural policies. The green revolution policy launched in the aftermath of independence could have resulted in the upswing of Togolese agriculture sector and shift it towards modernisation and market orientation. Unfortunately, the weakness of institutions in charge of its implementation and carelessness of policy process led to its failure. The Structural Adjustment Programme came to save the country’s economy through liberalisation policy which advocates the gradual reduction in the overall level of agricultural support. Once again, this policy failed, because its implementation was not based on evidence. Also, the strategies of reduction of distortionary impact of agricultural support were not well defined. In addition, the social unrest and political environment were not taken into account leading all investments opportunities collapsing in the sector. The impact of the recent world food crisis gave important lessons to Togolese policymakers, paving the way for the implementation of new strategies towards sustainable development in a healthier environment. Togolese government must also look at its investment share in agriculture and invest at least at 10% of its budget as agreed in Maputo in 2003 and review the management and competiveness of some sectors like cotton, coffee and cocoa. As for food and tuber crops, encouraging their processing as well as the review of fertilizer supply and distribution chains could enhance their productivity. As climate change and variability issues arise; government must assess deeply their impacts on each agricultural sub-sector in order to redirect policies toward sustainable agriculture and food security. Enhancement of capacity building of farmers and research institution such as Togolese Agronomic Research Institute is needed.
Keywords: Agriculture, Policies, Food security, Togo