The soil infertility there forced some farmers to leave their native area and move to other parts of the country.
"I left Hahotoe to settle in Kpalime to continue my cassava and other cultures. My only difficulty is that the soils of my new home are stony. In Hahotoe, we cultivate with the hoe while here everything is done with the cutter. I will get used to it, "says a farmer met in the plateau region.
A part from him, many have also made the choice to leave their homeland for more remote places to live their passion. Many people argue that "the refund received from the phosphate mining of their subsoil are far from repairing the damage to their farmland."
"Today, we have no more arable land for us inhabitants of Hahote. The exploited spaces are no longer backfilled to allow the population to carry out some activities. All became puddles of water so impossible to venture," indignant Komi TOSSA, regent of Hahotoe and former agricultural adviser at the Institute of technical support advice (ICAT).
Stuck on several hundred hectares recovered by mining, formerly dedicated to agricultural activities, one observes instead, a mountainous area and slums almost inaccessible and unusable.
According to various witnesses, there has not been a real agreement in the past to agree on how to manage these spaces after extracting phosphate.
"The locality is now sterile in culture and even in breeding," note small producers in the region. They say they are frustrated that the situation in the area is that, "no agricultural project of the government is really implanted in their environment."
"If an agricultural project is to be done in this locality, it will require huge expenses for its realization. And when we see all these risks, it discourages and nobody ventures there," informs with regret, Mr. TOSSA.
From 2fr.CFA to 5fr.CFA per square meter!
Those who stayed or better, those whose lands are expropriated, say they quarterly receive refunds. "Before, we were paid 3 CFA per m², but after several years of claims, we are now paid 5 CFA per m²," say some owner with tears.
"We cannot produce anything anymore, and we have to buy everything, nothing is cheaper for us here because everything comes from far away, which makes many more people in poverty," they added, urging the government to introduce programs to reduce bad living in the community.
Phosphate: demand down!
In 2017, natural phosphates of calcium, natural alumina-calcium phosphates and phosphatic chalk constituted the third export product of Togo with 39,6 billion CFA, a relative share of 9.1% against respectively 48.0 billion CFA and 10.6% in 2016.
According to the first six months of 2018, natural phosphates of calcium, natural aluminum-calcium phosphates and phosphatic chalks constitute the second export product with 21.9 billion CFA, for 9.9% of the total value of exports respectively 20.1 billion CFA and 8.3% at the end of the first six months of 2017, according to the Economic and Social Report 2018.
Analysts warn, however, that global demand for phosphate is lower than supply in an increasingly competitive international market.
Faced with this downward trend, the new phosphate company of Togo (SNPT) is thinking of how to keep its customers and look for new ones on the market and manage to conclude long-term markets to retain them.