Wednesday, 30 May, 2018 - 16:45

The review of the ten-year implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy through a regional forum held in November 2015 highlighted a perceptible impact at four levels, namely (i) the increase of resources mobilization, (ii) the increase of agricultural production notwithstanding its variability from one year to another and the impacts of climate change, (iii) the improvement of the productivity of some sectors such as rice, corn and cassava (iv) the significant development of animal industry including short sectors.

However, stakeholders in the forum felt that for the next ten years to come, the ECOWAP mission must be specified so as to integrate several underlying concerns such as (i) food sovereignty as the goal of the Agricultural Policy, (ii) nutrition as a complement of food security and (iii) climate-sensitivity of agriculture and resilience at different levels. The role of the private sector should also be clarified as well as the contractual and fair nature of the expected relationship between family farmers and companies operating in the production sector.

In the coming years, fish products, fruits and vegetables will also be considered regional strategic products for which strong initiatives will be launched. Particular emphasis should be placed on promoting ‘local milk’ value chains because of their growing weight in all countries food systems and the role of women at different stages of the value chain. At national level, a set of products are considered strategic (cotton, coffee, cocoa, rubber, peanuts, cashews, etc.) and the countries concerned would benefit from better co-operation in different areas (research, trading, industrialization, alliances and/or inter-professional structures structuring, market regulation, etc.).

In this regard, a methodology and practical guidelines were designed and agreed to facilitate the development of a new generation of National Agricultural Investment and Food Security and Nutrition Programmes (NAIFSNP) for each member State and the consolidated program at the regional level. To date, the Regional Agricultural Investment and Food Security and Nutrition Programmes (RAIFSNP), the Strategic Orientation Framework (SOF) by 2025 are available (adopted in December 2016 in Abuja).

In addition, most member States are finalizing their national agricultural investment and food security and nutrition programmes. The Regional Capacity Building Strategy for the implementation of ECOWAP 2025 validated on 24 March 2018 comes to reinforce the operational mechanism for revamping and setting guidelines for the agricultural sector in order to ensure food security and nutrition in West Africa by 2025.