WISHH’s ongoing efforts to identify new export markets have found solid potential for Togo to serve as a hub for regional soy export markets in West Africa. Using USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion Program funding, WISHH completed a market study that provided an in-depth assessment of opportunities for U.S. soy trade with Togo. The study evaluated proximity to major markets, supply routes to neighboring landlocked countries, and existing port facilities.
In 2018, Togo’s Port of Lomé became the leading container port in West Africa, surpassing Lagos, Nigeria in receiving twenty-foot equivalent container units. Togo’s port infrastructure enables it to process container shipments much more efficiently than those entering Lagos. The dwell time, which is the amount of time a container is stopped without moving at a port or other facility, is 20 to 22 days in Lagos compared to only nine days at the Port of Lomé.
Currently, Togo has a relatively high cost of prepared animal feed for livestock and aquaculture, which underscores the prospects for soybean meal. Togo has potential to drive demand for U.S. exports because as it increases shipments of its own organic soybeans to European markets then it creates demand for soy as a protein source in locally manufactured poultry and aquaculture feeds. Additionally, Togo’s organic exports have the potential to enhance container backflows and possibly reduce shipping costs for U.S. exporters.