Chad Table of Contents
Peanuts have become an important food crop in Chad. Peanuts were eaten roasted or dry, and their oil was used in cooking. Peanuts were cultivated in both the soudanian and the sahelian zones. Production of peanuts was more stable than that of any other major crop, staying in the 90,000- to 100,000-ton range from the 1950s through 1987, with dips in drought years. The area under peanut production also remained stable, although kilograms-per-hectare yields declined slightly. The droughtresistant nature of peanuts made their production particularly important for the peoples of the sahelian zone, where peanuts were planted alone or in combination with millet in the first year of rotation; in the soudanian region, peanuts were traditionally planted in the third year of crop rotation.
Although considerable efforts were made to commercialize peanut production, most efforts failed. Through the 1960s and 1970s, about 97 percent of the annual crop went to local consumption. What remained was sold to various edible oil manufacturing concerns, none of which succeeded. For example, a Chinese-built peanut oil mill at Abéché, finished in 1969, never operated. Local farmers sold surplus peanuts through traditional channels, rather than to the state monopoly set up in 1965, the National Trading Company of Chad (Société Nationale de Commercialisation du Tchad--SONACOT). This parastatal bought local produce for sale abroad or domestically to state-run commercial operations. Unlike Cotontchad, SONACOT was never given the means to compel farmers to sell their crops, and it did not have the resources to compete with prices offered by traditional traders. With the collapse of central authority in 1979, SONACOT disappeared. The only commercial sales of peanuts were then limited to Cotontchad purchases in the south, but by 1987 these had been halted to reduce costs.
Data as of December 1988