Togo is a narrow 600-km long strip of land in West Africa, with a 56-km coastline. The country has bad human rights records and faces international criticism over the non- democratic political governance and illegal ivory trafficking. Togo's economy, which relies a lot on agriculture (40% of GDP), has collapsed since the suspension of EU aid in 1992.
However, a restored dialogue with international donors after relatively transparent elections in 2010 and reduction of external debt, have given the country brighter development prospects.[
Almost half the 6.8 million population lives below the poverty line, three quarters in rural areas. The level of malnutrition is quite significant (about 16% of children under-five are underweight). Rural poverty is more pronounced in North Togo (Savannah, Central and Kara regions), as harsh semi-arid agroecological conditions mean crop farming is more prone to failure.
Togo has two climatic zones: the Southern part (Maritime and Plateau regions) is humid tropical with two rainy seasons (April-July and September-October) and annual rainfall between 800 and 1,000 m; and the North Togo (Center, Kara and Savannah regions) is drier, with Sudan and Sudan-Sahel climate with one rainy season (April- October).
Improving the productivity of dryland agriculture is therefore key to ensuring better food security and nutrition in Togo.