Agricultural research and development (R&D) in Senegal has historically been spearheaded by the public sector.
In 2008 the private sector accounted for just 14 percent of the country’s total agricultural R&D investments. The reasons for limited private-sector involvement are manifold. Many private companies operate with limited competition, which reduces their incentive to invest in research, and many rely on new technologies from the public sector or from abroad. The picture is not entirely bleak, however. While the public sector dominates research on food crops in Senegal, the private sector makes an important contribution to R&D related to export commodities. Private companies are major innovators in the groundnut and cotton subsectors, Senegal’s principal export crops. In fact, they play a more crucial role than the public sector in releasing new varieties of these two crops and in providing high-quality and timely solutions to related crop diseases.
The Senegalese government has taken various measures to stimulate innovation in the private sector in recent years. Regional seed, fertilizer, pesticide, and livestock regulations have been harmonized to reduce trade barriers and increase market opportunities for competitive firms. Additional national initiatives have provided private-sector opportunities and enhanced public–private partnerships. Despite these efforts—and some notable successes—privately provided agricultural R&D has
much room to grow.