Manufacturing activities in Senegal, 1980-2010
The food economy: a primary source of employment: Agriculture represents only 60% of the food economy. The economic activities that take place upstream (input supply, seeds) and downstream (processing, trade) account for 40%. The food industry is growing faster than agricultural production. It consists of numerous and increasingly complex value chains. For example, processed products based on cereals, whether ready-to-eat products (breads, cookies, cakes) or ready-to-use products (flour, meal, grains), go through several stages before reaching the final consumer. They are subject to more or less sophisticated methods of processing, stabilisation and packaging. The raw material was bagged, transported, unloaded, stored, inspected, calibrated, cleaned, crushed, rolled, sometimes dried or roasted, chilled or frozen, packaged, wrapped and sometimes cooked in street restaurants. Apart from a few relatively large industrial structures (breweries, flour mills, etc.), the sector primarily consists of microenterprises and SMEs which are often family-run and informal. Production processes are frequently artisanal, involving limited mechanisation and standardisation. But these companies are gradually changing and an increasing share of them are investing, mechanisng, professionalising and even industrialising. As the region’s primary economic sector, the food industry is by far the main source of employment. It should be placed at the centre of strategies to provide jobs for millions of young people and to develop income-generating activities for the most vulnerable populations.