Since 2013, peanuts seem to have turned profitable for Senegal farmers as fast developing economies like China and India has taken a sincere interest in these ground nuts. Almost 50% of cultivated land is used to farm peanuts. China is the largest exporter of peanut products and has experienced a growing demand for the products as well as products for their domestic market. The peanuts were not worth much until the Chinese businessmen gained interest as the farmers previously relied on local mills to buy the crop. China informs that they have given a better option to boost their economy making Senegal able to improve the lives of its people by creating economic ties between the two countries over the next 10 years.
Although the turn seems to be positive for Senegal, the sudden interest has taken Senegal farmers by surprise which unable them to meet the high demand. Some farmers have become reluctant to sell their goods which have contributed to the closure of factories and loss of jobs; ‘a disaster for the whole region’. In addition, the double of the value of processed peanut oil have Chinese businessmen interested in buying plots from the farmers to build factories, taking the additional profit away from the farmers. The plots are ancestral land owned by farmers through generations by which farmers are reluctant to sell even for a huge amount of money – at least for the time being.
China has found a way to make the profits of the peanut their own, as it may only be a matter of time before farmers are tempted to sell for economic reasons. This may be an example of the much disputed and argued exploitation of 3rd world resources by the more developed countries as China has recently become the second largest economy in the world (World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/china/overview).
Winners or losers? Senegal farmers are definitely the losers.