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Golden opportunity for Cote D’Ivoire’s Farmers and Energy providers

April 2019
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How Harvest time presents a golden opportunity for Cote D’Ivoire’s Farmers and Energy providers alike

Purchasing power in the Cote D’Ivoire

In economics, purchasing power is defined as the amount of goods and services that can be bought with a given sum of money.

For a household, purchasing power is a good indication of disposable income. Purchasing power is affected by numerous factors such as the cost of goods in a market, occupation, and region, and is very often a reflection of a country’s economic health.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the economy has grown rapidly in recent years, but so too has the size of the population.

While demographic growth or decline can affect economic growth or decline, compared to other countries, the Côte d’Ivoire has maintained a good equilibrium.

Each region has significant potential, particularly in the agriculture sector, which is the main source of income for the Ivorian population.
However, according to the IAFF, only 0.4% of Ivorians have a stable income.

This can be explained by the fact that agricultural workers do not receive a fixed income because of the seasonal nature of their work.

Understanding the lie of the land

Agriculture in Côte d’Ivoire focuses on both industrial and export crops as well as food crops. Since its independence, Côte d’Ivoire has built its economy on agriculture.

Today, 50% of the country’s economy is agriculture-based. Indeed, the country positions itself as the world leader in cocoa, cashew and rubber.

For several decades, Côte d’Ivoire has been one of the largest producers of coffee.

Ivorian land is very fertile especially in the West of the country; it is a cocoa-producing region and country’s main source of wealth.

The South of the country is blessed with fertile lands and large forests that support a large part of this population with plantations of rice, fruits and vegetables, coffee, rubber but especially cocoa.

A large portion of the farming population is concentrated in the interior of the country, from west to east and north to south.

However, a number of inland communities still have a high level of illiteracy, which poses enormous problems for households living in these communities that would like to have electricity so that their children can study in good light conditions, enjoy security in their home and watch television together as a family.

A great opportunity for new electricity

Having the ability to power their homes via solar energy comes as an almost “magic solution” for the people living in the interior of the country who have been waiting so long to receive electricity from the national electricity company CIE and who were beginning to despair.

Now, thanks to a solar kit, they can finally enjoy the benefits of electricity in their home, and the great improvement in living conditions, that goes with it.

The renewable energy sector aims to provide electricity to people who do not have access to an affordable, reliable or clean energy supply.

In Côte d’Ivoire, it is estimated that only about 40% of households are connected to the national electricity grid, which leaves a large margin of the population without access to electricity and living in precarious conditions.

Today, we are witnessing a real revolution in the renewable energy sector.

More than 50,000 homes and small businesses across the country now have access to solar energy at an affordable price thanks to the investment of major international groups in Côte d’Ivoire such as LUMOS GLOBAL and its subsidiary LUMOS CI, which is the solar component of MTN CI.

Connecting with the valuable rural market

Today, the primary targets of companies operating in the field of renewable energy are populations living in rural areas not served by electricity.

Depending on the region, this population tends to be primarily agricultural.

Middle class farmers – especially growers in the southwest – make up 25% of the total. This sample is representative of the Ivorian population. As you’d expect, this group lives mainly in rural areas.

In terms of demographics, they are relatively old, and while they attach great importance to children’s education, their low incomes do not allow them to spend much on this.

Financially, they are vulnerable to price fluctuations on export products (coffee and cocoa) and “live by the curve”.

Timing is everything

In terms of export speculation, cocoa is considered the basis of the country’s agriculture. Cocoa growers, therefore, tend to enjoy the highest incomes and greater purchasing power.

During the harvest (between October and December) these growers receive a large amount of money according to the volume of their harvest over the next six months.

This is the period when cocoa producers make the decision to buy their solar kit.

They also tend to choose yearly payment plans or paying cash for the kit in order to avoid taking on debt.

The average solar kit costs about 360,000 CFA (615 USD), which is a big investment for growers out of the harvest period.

This is the main reason why growers wait for the harvest period before buying their solar kit. Solar energy companies generally offer payment plans with payment subscriptions ranging from 1 day to 5 years.

At the time of their harvest, planters usually pay between 1 and 5 years, thus avoiding all charges incurred by paying for electricity over a long period.

Producers of farm crops in Côte d’Ivoire have the highest purchasing power in the country.

Thanks to the solar kits offered by companies working in the field, this group can exercise its superior purchasing power to enjoy quality energy, good for the environment and for users.