West African Agriculture and Climate Change: Côte d'Ivoire


Côte d'Ivoire enjoys a humid climate, with at least seven rainy months and 1,000 mm in annual rainfall. Most of the interior receives 1,000–1,500 mm annually. Moving inland toward the east, a short dry season falls in the middle of the wet season, creating an annual cycle of four seasons. Cocoa is the major cash crop. Yams, cassava, and plantains are the major staples. The contribution of agriculture to GDP declined steadily between 1960 and 1980 as the manufacturing and service sectors improved.

The population has doubled every 20 years since the country gained independence in 1960. In 2008, almost half of the population lived in urban areas. The majority of the population is engaged in agriculture. After independence, life expectancy at birth increased from 40 years to 55 years by the late 1970s. The mortality rate for children under five years decreased dramatically from 300 deaths per 1,000 births in the 1960s to less than 200 deaths per 1,000 births in 1980, reaching 125 deaths per 1,000 births in 2008. The under-five malnutrition rate, estimated at 16.7 percent in 2006, is lower than most countries in the region.

The legacy of a decade-long civil war and the projected doubling of the population by 2040–2050 complicate the government’s ability to rebuild the country and to sustainably manage its natural resource base.

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