Unfavorable climatic conditions characterized by low rainfall and frequent droughts, as well as a shortage of fertile land (the area of agricultural land in Djibouti is only 17.0 thousand km2, of which arable land accounts for less than 1 thousand km2) and the lack of stable access to the necessary amount of water are the reason for extremely low agricultural production in Djibouti. This sector accounts for only 1.7% of GDP and 1.2% of the employment structure. As a result, the country is highly dependent on food imports (about 90% of consumption).
The production of vegetables, root crops and tubers in 2021 amounted to 36.1 thousand tons, which is 0.3% less than 2020. On average, in 2017-2021, the volume of grown products decreased by 0.2% per year. The most common vegetable crop is tomatoes, whose production in 2021 amounted to 1.9 thousand tons (+1.3% by 2020). The volume of grown products for the period under review increased annually by an average of 1.4%.
The most popular crop in Djibouti is beans, which in 2021 was grown 19.3 thousand tons, which is 20.7% more than 2020, the annual growth rate for 2017-2021 amounted to 31.1%.
The production of fruits and berries in 2017-2021 grew by an average of 1.1% per year, reaching 4.8 thousand tons in 2021 (+2.1% by 2020). The main crops are lemons and limes, whose production in 2021 amounted to 2.8 thousand tons, which is 1.9% more than 2020. The average annual increase over the period under review was 1.8%.
The development of animal husbandry in the country is also limited and does not allow achieving high production rates. The volume of milk production during 2017-2021 is approximately at the same level — 15.0 thousand tons per year, mainly cow and camel milk is produced (8.9 thousand tons and 6.1 thousand tons in 2021, respectively).
The total production of meat and offal in 2021 amounted to 15.6 thousand tons, which is 0.6% more than in 2020. The average annual growth rate for 2017-2021 was 0.3%. The main type of meat produced in the country is beef, the volume of which in 2021 amounted to 6.2 thousand tons (+0.8% by 2020). On average, in 2017-2021, production grew by 0.6% per year. The country also produces goat meat and mutton (2.3 thousand tons and 2.2 thousand tons in 2021, respectively).
Fish and seafood production in 2021 amounted to 3.1 thousand tons, which is 34.8% more than in 2020. The average annual growth rate for 2017-2021 was 11.6%. There is practically no aquaculture in the country, and almost all production is provided by catch.
Import of agricultural products
By the end of 2022, Djibouti imported agricultural products worth 1.73 billion US dollars. The volume of imports in 2022 was only 0.3% higher than in 2021. The average annual growth rate of imports of agricultural products of the country for 2018-2022 amounted to 14.6%.
Palm oil (33.2%), sunflower oil (16.3%) and beet and cane sugar (16.2%) accounted for the largest share in the value structure of imports of agricultural products of Djibouti by the end of 2022. In total, the above items accounted for 65.7% of the value of imports of agricultural products of the country or 1.1 billion US dollars.
The top 10 products accounted for 88.4% of Djibouti's value imports. The main volume of imported products in 2022 fell on vegetable oils — 886.1 million US dollars (51.3% of the value of imports of agricultural products). For the year, the increase was 37.5% or 241.5 million US dollars.
From 2021 to 2022, palm oil (+33.4% or +143.3 million US dollars), sunflower oil (+64.2% or +110.0 million US dollars) and other fresh vegetables (5.4 times or +34.8 million US dollars) showed the largest increase from the top 10 imported positions. Imports of root crops and tubers with a high starch or inulin content (-69.1% or -47.2 million US dollars) and wheat flour (-47.9% or -44.9 million US dollars) significantly decreased.
In 2022, the main suppliers of agricultural products to Djibouti were India (28.3% of the value of imports of agricultural products), Malaysia (20.4%), Turkey (18.4%) and Indonesia (13.2%). The share of the top 10 countries accounted for 95.0% of Djibouti's value imports. The largest increase in 2021-2022 was demonstrated by Malaysia (2.1 times or +246.0 million US dollars) and Turkey (+36.0% or +82.4 million US dollars). Malaysia has increased palm oil exports (by 2.1 times or by $181.2 million). Turkey increased the supply of sunflower oil to Djibouti by 81.5% (+120.2 million US dollars).
Export of agricultural products
In 2022, the export of agricultural products of Djibouti reached 404.4 million US dollars, an increase of 65.4% compared to 2021, becoming a record for 2018-2022. The average annual growth rate of the value of agricultural exports for the period under review was 50.9%.
The basis of value exports of Djibouti's agricultural products was palm oil (79.3%). The top 3 export positions also included sunflower oil (7.0%) and beans (2.4%). The top 10 exported types of products accounted for 98.0% of the value of exports of agricultural products of Djibouti.
The main volume of products exported in 2022 fell, as well as in imports, on vegetable oils — 352.3 million US dollars (87.1% of the value of exports of agricultural products of Djibouti). For the year, the increase in this category amounted to 90.1% or 167.0 million US dollars.
The export of palm oil has grown most significantly since 2021, in 2022 it increased by 76.3% (+138.9 million US dollars). Also, a significant increase was demonstrated by the supply of sunflower oil: 8.6 times or by 25.1 million US dollars.
It is worth noting that due to its geographical location, Djibouti serves as a key refueling and transshipment center for ships passing through the Bab el Mandeb Strait, as well as the main transport and logistics hub for Ethiopia, which does not have access to the sea. As a result, Ethiopia is the main importer of agricultural products from Djibouti, which accounted for 86.9% of the country's exports.
The top 3 importing countries also included India (4.3%) and Jordan (2.1%) - in total, these countries accounted for 93.3% (377.4 million US dollars) of exports of agricultural products. In total, the share of the top 10 countries in 2022 amounted to 98.5% of Djibouti's agricultural exports.
Ethiopia showed a significant increase in the volume of purchases of agricultural products from Djibouti in 2022 (+88.8% or +165.3 million US dollars). In 2022, it imported 76.3% more palm oil. Deliveries of live cattle to Jordan have also begun: in 2022, it was delivered for US$ 7.6 million.