With the gradual maturity of emerging markets, such as the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe, in recent years, Africa, a relatively new and promising region, began attracting the industry’s attention. Many companies, especially Chinese and Indian companies, are considering the potential of the African market.
North Africa is one of the continent’s key agrochemical markets. However, due to the lack of detailed market data from the industry and the region’s complicated registration regulations, the market has always been slightly mysterious. Therefore, AgroPages took the opportunity to interview leading companies from various countries in the North African market, in the hope of de-mystifying this market through their information and analysis. In the Sudan, Algeria and Tunisia part, we interviewed Khalid Abdellatif, General Manager of CTC Agrochemicals Company, Yacine Balaska, manager from DEKACHIM and Rachid Derdari, Head manager of agro business consulting at ABC agribusiness CONSULTING.
North Africa market overview
Geographically, North Africa refers to countries located on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Sudan. Agriculture is a key sector in most of these countries, and the average contribution of the agricultural sector to their total gross domestic product (GDP) is around 13%. The sector also provides 25% of jobs in these countries.
North Africa’s agricultural regions are located in coastal areas and river valleys, and crop cultivation is heavily dependent on rainfall, especially among small-scale farmers. Agriculture is driven by the topographic characteristics of the land and climatic conditions. Therefore, the share of cropped land is generally low, except in Tunisia (see Table 1).
Table 1 Agriculture overview of North African countries
|Key Agriculture Figures
||9 million Ha (15%)
||5.5 million Ha (32%)
||8.5 million Ha (3.6%)
||3.3 million Ha (4%)
||17 million Ha(9%)
||1.5 million Ha
||0.42 million Ha
||0.987 million Ha
||2.7 million Ha
||1.9 million Ha
|Number of Farms
|Average Farm Size
|Farm smaller than 10 Ha
|% of GDP (2017)
|% of employment (2017)
Grapes, Citrus, Fruit trees
|Olives, Cereals, Stone
fruit, Vegetables Crops,
crops, Fruit trees, Potato,
Citrus, Palm trees
|Sugar cane, Sugar beet,
Wheat, Rice, Maize,
|Output value of the agricultural
industry in million Euro
| 1 from Ministry of agriculture Morocco, ONCA,
2 from Ministry of agriculture Tunisia, National Statistical Institute (INS)
3 from Ministry of agriculture Algeria, Office National des statistiques ALGERIE (ONS)
4 from Ministry of agriculture Egypt, Egypt Data portal
5 from Ministry of agriculture Sudan
Ps: The data was compiled by Moroccan company - ABC agrobusiness CONSULTING.
The agrochemical markets of North African countries vary widely, and their individual potential, legislation and organization are different. Egypt is the largest market, in terms of consumption, valued at US$350 million, followed by Morocco with $220 million, Algeria with $90 million, then Tunisia with $50 million.
Sudan is endowed with agricultural resources. The total arable land is estimated at 56 million hectares, while the cultivated area is around 17 million hectares (30% of arable land). Sudan’s share of the Nile water is 20.5 billion cubic meters (Bcm), the total annual rainfall is estimated at 400 Bcm, while ground water is estimated at 4 Bcm. Agriculture contributes to some 35% of Sudan’s Gross Domestic product. More than 70% of Sudan’s population is directly involved in agriculture. The main crops include sorghum (milo), sesame, groundnuts, millet, wheat, cotton, gum Arabic, sunflower and forages. The total number of animals amounts to more than 100 million heads of cattle, sheep, goats and camels.
The agrochemicals market in Sudan is divided into two segments: Tender and Private businesses. The number of pesticide trading licenses issued is more than 50 and the annual market size is estimated to be some US$43 million.
The major MNCs such as Syngenta, BASF, Nufarm, UPL, Bayer, etc are present in the market, whilst generic manufacturers from India and China have also become active in the Sudanese market in the past 10 years.
The pesticides commonly used in the Sudan market are shown in Table 2. “Bio pesticides are not popular in Sudan, but recently, some products were registered, such as Bacilus thuringiensis and Bacilus megaterium,” said Khalid Abdellatif, General manager of CTC Agrochemicals Company.
Table 2 Commonly-used pesticides in Sudan
Registration and regulation of agrochemicals
The import and registration of pesticides is managed by the National Pesticides Council (NPC) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture with a mandate of regulating the introduction and use of pesticides.
There are procedures and regulations governing the pesticides business and registration in Sudan. There are a number of steps to be followed during product registration. These include:
• Application for experimental use permit (EUP).
• Testing and evaluation of the product by the Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC). Testing and evaluation is done for number of seasons depending on the nature of the active ingredient, target pest and the crop. The duration of experimentation and the required fees are governed by regulations and conditions suggested by the ARC.
• Recommendations for Commercial Registration. The results of the testing and evaluation will be presented to the Pest and Disease Committee of the ARC to recommend the new product for commercial registration.
• Commercial Registrations is usually granted after the NPC indorses the recommendation of the pests and disease committee. Once this is completed, the product will be eligible to enter the country for commercial use. The entire registration process takes between two and three years.
Agriculture in Sudan is going through a clear transformation from traditional practices to the use of modern agricultural technologies. The rates of pesticide adoption for both herbicides and insecticides are increasing across all farming systems. We estimate the market will hit $75 million by 2025.
Fig. 2 Pesticides used in Algeria
In Algeria and Tunisia, the distribution network of agrochemical products is based on local companies, and multinational companies do not conduct direct sales. The main market characteristics of these countries include the simple registration process and the popularity of non-patented products supplied by China and Turkey.
Algeria is an emerging market, but the registration process takes a long time and requires French documentation. Algeria has no requirements for laboratory qualifications, so there are many non-patented products in the market even with limited selection and the supply of active ingredients. The Tunisian market has a limited potential and the registration process is similar to that of Morocco, but it takes longer.
Yacine Balaska from DEKACHIM told AgroPages that biopesticides are not known by all farmers in Algeria; they do not even know that abamectin or emamectin benzoate is a biopesticide.
The homologation file is not very difficult because it is not required to be provided by an accredited laboratory. The file includes a study on the physico-chemical characteristics of the product: toxicological study, biological study, product safety sheet, five samples of the raw material, and five samples of the finished product. It needs around two years to secure the registration.
“With the decline in oil prices, many people are investing in agriculture. Moreover, the government encourages citizens to return to the work of the land, subsidizing several things such as seeds, fertilizers, irrigation equipment and the development of lands located in the south of Algeria,” said Balaska.
North Africa market outlook
Although the agrochemical market in North Africa is in the ascendant, various positive factors have determined that the development prospects of this market are promising.
• The implementation of new large national or international projects for production, thanks to the workforce and the availability of technicians with a very remarkable level of experience.
• The continuous conversion of the operating system for local markets to high value-added projects for export destinations.
• Agricultural development plans implemented by governments provide a strategy for 2030. This is an example of Morocco's green Morocco plan and the plan for local products in Tunisia.
In conclusion, the export market is the center of the noticed evolution and will force the producer to seek less toxic and less residual pesticides (having a PHI of less than three days). In this context, the future of biopesticides is more promising.
CTC Agrochemicals Company is the first private Sudanese company working in the field of crop protection since 1956. It strongly believes in its responsibility of improving agricultural practices by developing relevant know-how to aid the local agricultural industry. To achieve this objective, it has established a number of technology transfer centers in the main agricultural areas to facilitate the demonstration and transfer of best practices to the farming community in Sudan. Today, the CTC Agrochemicals Company accounts for some 30% of the local demand for agrochemicals. The company has experts in all aspects of the field, in addition to all the tools and services necessary for the application of pesticides and other pest management products. Its domains include pesticides, fertilizers (solid & foliar), seeds, sprayers and jute.
Tel: + 249 187 012 100
DEKACHIM has more than 25 years of experience in the field of pesticides, so getting into the formulation has become evident. DEKACHIM is a company specialized in the formulation of phytosanitary products which are 100% Algerian. Our range of agricultural products and public hygiene are numerous, and the answer to quality and an optimal rigor. Indeed, our production unit has the latest equipment in the field of formulation, as well as a team that has been trained to use these machines. The laboratory is equipped with advanced analytical equipment led by experienced chemists. To undertake, create and innovate is our work ethic.
Tel: (00213) 23 32 56 08
ABC Agrobusiness Consulting is the leading consulting company in agribusiness, helping numerous multinationals maximize their profits and grow in African markets. The main services consist of:
Regulatory assistance: File evaluation, file application, trials, follow-up of processes.
Match-making: ABC helps their clients find the best distributor (size of company, technical and sales teams) depending on the product and the capability of the prospect to develop the product of the client. The company underlines that they account for several national partners in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and the West African countries.
Market studies and sector intelligence: ABC provides realistic, precise and decisive data interpretations that will help clients in their decision-making process.
Tel: +212 (0) 661 292903
If you are an information expert who is familiar with Africa agrochemical market, or you have an agrochemical company in this region and you are interested in sharing your own story, please feel free to contact AgroPages.
+86 571 87240039
This article was initially published in AgroPages '2019 Market Insight' magazine. Download the PDF version of the magazine to read more articles.