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Pilarquim exploring West African market: A promising market for new products

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West Africa normally includes 16 countries or regions — Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger and Nigeria — where the Atlantic coastal areas are mostly tropic zones and tropic rainforest zones, which used to be known for the famous east-west running Ivory Coast and Gold Coast. The region has a rich water source and fertile land producing abundant crops such as cocoa, rubber, corn, cassava and tropic fruit, being regarded as the pearl of Africa with great agricultural development potential.

With a high degree of insight into the potential opportunities of business in the agrochemical market of West Africa, based on its experience of dozens of years in African market expeditions, Pilarquim sent a team, headed by the General Manager, Hong Feng, to conduct a field research in West Africa covering Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire for the purpose of market exploration. Through the field visit, Pilarquim has obtained first-hand registration data and market information, which are of great significance to its product development and strategic planning for the exploration of the West African market. 
Pilarquim promoting agrochemical development of Nigeria; products to be soon brought into local market 
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, which reaches 173 million accounting for 16% of the total population of Africa. It has also the largest economy in Africa, being the largest petroleum production and exportation country of Africa. Though the rising petroleum business has led to the declination of the farming industry, yet agriculture plays a significant role in the economy of Nigeria. The main commercial crops of Nigeria include cocoa, cassava, rice, corn, rubber, sugarcane, sorghum, peanut, cashew nut and yam, of which cassava, cocoa and cashew nut are exported in large quantity.
During the market research, Pilarquim’s team visited many local dealers and retail shops. After communicating with quite a lot of people, Pilarquim’s team acquired the right information on local pesticide application. For climatic reasons, herbicide and insecticide are the popular pesticides in the Nigerian agrochemical market, where fungicide accounts for only a small proportion. Herbicide share reaches 60%, being mostly very basic products such as glyphosate and nicosulfuron. With the growing pesticide market over recent years, new formulations and mixtures have started to play a part in the Nigerian market. Farmer’s acceptability of new products is increasing. The Nigerian market has become an emerging market, which provides a good opportunity for business with a company such as Pilarquim that has complementarities of basic products and new formulations or new mixtures. 
Model market environment established in Gold Coast, Pilarquim to increase its brand influence
Ghana is one of the important countries of Wes Africa. It has a population of 27.40 million and its per capita GDP is about $1,370, which finds the country at a high-ranking level among African countries. The government of Ghana lays stress on three tasks, which are respectively inflation control, agricultural development and investment encouragement, enabling the continuous economic growth of the country. Due to these initiatives, Ghana is hailed as an economic restructuring model among African countries. The economy of Ghana is based on agriculture. Its main field crops include corn, potato, sorghum, rice, millet, yam and rice while the main commercial crops include oil palm, rubber, cotton, peanut, sugarcane and tobacco. Gold, cocoa and timber are three conventional export products of Ghana backing up the economy of the country. Ghana is the largest cocoa production and export country of the world; its cocoa production volume accounts for about 13% of the world.
Pilarquim’s team visited Ghana’s largest agrochemical market – Kumasi, having had talks with a number of dealers and retail shops. The understanding is that due to the outdated farming practices, Ghana’s pesticide application is on the lower side, where commonly used pesticides are still very basic products such as glyphosate, nicosulfuron, chlorpyrifos, beta-cypermethrin and mancozeb while the use of new ingredients or formulations accounts for only a small proportion. On the other side, the issue of pesticide residue is another key consideration besides the prices of pesticides in the eyes of pesticide dealers, as some products (like fruit juice) are being directly or indirectly exported to Europe. For instance, the issue of MRL of pesticides applied to cocoa is of special importance.
In the meantime, Pilarquim’s team went deep into the crop field and fruit orchards to have direct exchanges with local farmers. As it is shown, farmers are quite interested in new products and have expressed a certain degree of acceptability. Also, with a change in the climate and environment, the local pest and disease damages have changed. For example, the outbreak of corn armyworm, which was not serious before, as well as the increasingly serious mango anthracnose disease, would demand fast-effect, long-duration and low-residue new products. These needs are expected to bring about great opportunities for business development.
Pilarquim setting foot in Cote d’Ivoire, a promising future expected
Cote d’Ivoire is an agricultural country, where farming is the economic foundation of the country. There are 8.02 million hectares of arable land in the country and farming population accounts for 49% of the total labor of the country. Cocoa and coffee are the main commercial crops of Cote d’Ivoire; the planting area of the two crops accounts for 60% of the arable land of the country. Its cocoa production and export volume rank first in the world, accounting for 40% of the global supply. Coffee production ranks third in Africa and twelfth in the world. Meanwhile, Cote d’Ivoire is the sole palm oil export country of West Africa. It is Africa’s second largest cashew nut production country and an important rubber production country. The rest of the crops include corn, millet, sorghum, rice, cassava and yam. Cote d’Ivoire has rich natural produce. 
Due to the impact of climate and environmental conditions, the agrochemical market of Cote d’Ivoire is mostly encompassed by herbicide and insecticide. Nevertheless, there is still a market for fungicides, such as products for application to control downy mildew and powdery mildew, as well as for control of mango anthracnose disease. With the continued development of the agrochemical market, farmer’s demand for high-efficient and low-residue pesticides is growing. New formulations, high-quality and low-dosage products are becoming more and more acceptable to farmers. While the agrochemical market of Cote d’Ivoire is booming, Pilarquim’s differentiated new product development strategy turns out to be a good match for the demand of the agrochemical market of Cote d’Ivoire. It is believed that the entry of the new business force of Pilarquim will bring new vigor and vitality to the market. 

The market of West Africa is a piece of hot land which will jack up the growth of agrochemical enterprises with numerous opportunities of business, of course, opportunity and challenge always co-exists. To seize the opportunity of having a share in the market of West Africa, comprehensive market research, a good understanding of the local market status and in-depth analysis of the local political and economic situation is required. This will be of great help to form a rational development plan covering product registration and market promotion; it is an approach that an agrochemical enterprise will have to take. By virtue of its long-year experience in overseas market promotion and being backed up by a very supportive technical team and marketing team, Pilarquim is moving forward in steady steps into this emerging market. 

Source: AgroNews


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