Horticulture in Côte d'Ivoire: A Blossoming Industry

Côte d'Ivoire, located in West Africa, is renowned for its agricultural prowess. While the country is primarily known for its cocoa and coffee production, its horticultural sector has been steadily growing over the years. This article will shed light on the vibrant horticulture industry in Côte d'Ivoire, focusing on two prominent initiatives: the HortIvoire project and HortiNord program funded by Netherlands in collaboration with the Dutch private sector

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Horticulture in Côte d'Ivoire:

Horticulture, particularly the vegetables subsector is booming due to the fast growing population. Côte d'Ivoire's favorable climate, with its abundant sunshine and rainfall, makes it an ideal location for horticultural activities. The country's diverse agro-ecological zones provide suitable conditions for cultivating a wide range of crops, including tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, mangoes, pineapples, etc. The Ivorian government, through the second National Program for Agricultural Investments (PNIA II), has the overall objective of stimulating sectoral growth to reduce poverty by in half, and to reach the "zero hunger" level by 2025. The Dutch Embassy in Abidjan has made one of its goals to create sustainable and inclusive local value chains in order to strengthen the Dutch earning capacity. 

HortIvoire: the first project

HortIvoire is a horticultural development program initiated by the Dutch government (Netherlands Enterprise Agency / RVO, NL embassy) in partnership with various stakeholders, including a public vocational school (INFPA) and private companies (Resilience, AgriFer, Rijk Zwaan, Van Iperen). In order to promote and support the horticulture sector this project aims at strengthening the capacity of 240 young people in for the adoption of innovative out-of-ground farming solutions, thus creating employment and business opportunities for youngsters. 

Under the HortIvoire project, several initiatives have been implemented. These include the provision of theorical and practical training to young people on soilless (“hors-sol”) vegetable farming, access to high-quality seeds and planting materials, support for the adoption of modern farming practices, and the establishment of horticultural demonstration farms. The project will end in June 2024; so far 122 youngster have been trained.

HortiNord: scaling-up HortIvoire

The Netherlands is a world leader in horticultural innovations and committed to providing solutions and knowledge for a healthy and biodiverse food system. Building on the successes and lessons learnt from HortIvoire, a new programme was set up to scale up collaboration in horticulture between both countries. Launched in collaboration with the Autonomous District of Yamoussoukro, the HortiNord programme focuses on the development of horticulture in the northern regions of the country. The program aims to harness the untapped potential of these regions by promoting sustainable horticultural practices, facilitating access to credit and markets, and strengthening the capacity of young entrepreneurs.

Through HortiNord, the Dutch embassy wants to transform the next generation of agricultural producers into entrepreneurs – ‘hortipreneurs’ – who are increasingly facing challenges such as land pressure, climate change, population growth, urbanization,  instability in the north and limited opportunities for young people.

Through HortiNord, entrepreneurs  in the northern regions of Côte d'Ivoire receive training and incubation on modern horticultural techniques, such as greenhouse farming, irrigation management, and pest control. The program also emphasizes the importance of agroecology, including organic farming and the efficient use of resources. By encouraging the adoption of these practices, HortiNord contributes to the long-term horticultural businesses’ viability of in the region. For the first phase of this program in Yamoussoukro, four projects are in the process of being set up, focusing on:

  1. conventional horticulture,
  2. agroecological production,
  3. route-to-market solutions and
  4. entrepreneurship

A few steps taken so far:

  • On 23 March, a seminar was organized in The Hague with 30 Dutch horticultural players;
  • On 16 June, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Autonomous District of Yamoussoukro and the Dutch embassy regarding the use of land and infrastructure ;
  • On 30 September, an MoU was signed by the Dutch Vice Minister of Agriculture Mr. Jan-Kees Goet and the Ivorian Minister of State and Minister of Agriculture Mr. Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, with a focus on horticultural cooperation ;  
  • On 30 September, the HortiNord programme was launched by the Ambassador for Business and Development Mr. Marchel Gerrmann ;

On 1 October, a trade mission consisting of 15 horticultural companies visited the HortiNord and HortIvoire sites, reinforcing the commitment and collaboration for HortiNord

Impact and Future Prospects

The efforts undertaken through initiatives like HortIvoire and HortiNord are yielding their first results in the horticulture sector of Côte d'Ivoire. The increased adoption of modern and sustainable techniques, improved access to quality inputs, and enhanced market linkages have contributed to higher yields, improved product quality, and increased income for young farmers as entrepreneurs.

Looking ahead, the future of horticulture in Côte d'Ivoire appears promising. The Dutch government's continued support, coupled with collaboration between public and private stakeholders, will play a crucial role in sustaining and expanding the sector. By capitalizing on its favorable climate, investing in research and development, and focusing on the new generation of ‘hortipreneurs’, Côte d'Ivoire can establish itself as a leading horticultural hub in the region


Horticulture in Côte d'Ivoire is a thriving sector that holds immense potential for growth and development. HortIvoire and HortiNord are playing pivotal roles in supporting and promoting the sector, ensuring sustainable practices, and improving the livelihoods of young entrepreneurs. With continued investment and strategic planning, Côte d'Ivoire can further strengthen its position in the global horticulture market and contribute to the country's overall economic wellbeing.

Here, you will find  images of a field visist during the SARA 2023

Are you interested in joining the HortiNord programme? For more information  please contact M. Zacharie Thonon, Agricultural Advisor in Côte d'Ivoire....

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