Friday, 8 March, 2019 - 12:00

The decisions of the Ad-hoc Management Committee have allowed to test its intervention procedures (requests from countries, examination / decision-support note by the Stocks-Info Unit, decision by a transitional governance body decided by the TSMC-AEWR. The implementation of the interventions and the experiences feedbacks have contributed to fine-tune the procedures under finalization in the Procedures Manual. The purchase, storage and destocking of food grains as part of the interventions clearly demonstrate that the regional Reserve is truly an instrument of regional solidarity to be consolidated and sustained, hence the importance of accompanying the States in the replenishment operations (deadlines, technical specifications and products quality, etc.).

Faced with the difficult food situation of 2018 in several West African countries, the Heads of State and Government of the Community instructed the Ecowas Commission in July 2018 on the necessary mobilization of the regional Reserve – they created in 2013 - to help vulnerable populations. This mobilization, at the highest level, has accelerated the establishment of Reserve governance bodies, particularly the adoption of the Regulation establishing the Management Committee. Statutory bodies have also validated the principle of the replenishment of the stocks “grain-for-grain” by beneficiary countries, and this because of the need to perpetuate the instrument.

Considering the operationalization deadline of the Management Committee put in place, the Technical Specialized Ministerial Committee – Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources of Ecowas (TSMC-AEWR) set up a transitional body - the Ad hoc Management Committee of the RFSR. The latter was able to examine requests and decide upon the interventions and stocks rotation of the RFSR in 2018.

Each national request was reviewed and a decision- support note by the Stocks-Info Unit based on the results of the Harmonized Framework provided by the regional alert system. This note was brought to the attention of the Ad hoc Management Committee.

The Committee met for the first time in Lomé on July 3, 2018 to examine requests submitted by Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Niger and Senegal. Later on, it considered the request and decided on the intervention in Nigeria and a stocks rotation in Ghana in December 2018. As of 31 December 2018, the Committee decided to mobilize 13,831 tons for Burkina Faso, Niger and Ghana, and later in January 2019, five thousand (5,000) tons for Nigeria with a commitment at the highest level of these countries to replenish the stocks grain-for-grain. The following table summarizes the physical stock interventions decided by the Committee and implemented by Ecowas. It also takes into account the 2017 intervention made by Ecowas in Nigeria with the products of the Reserve.

Nigeria  :  5,000 tons    31  January 2019

Ghana  :  2,750 tons   28 December 2018

Burkina Faso  :  4,303 tons   9 August 2018

Niger  :  6,528 tons  7 August 2018

Nigeria :  1,130 tons  8 August 2017

Total  :  19,711 tons

For Cape Verde whose request was for financial assistance, Ecowas decided to provide financial support of 150, 000 USD using its Humanitarian Emergency Fund. For Senegal, the request of the Government could not be satisfied because of the non-availability of stocks of the RFSR in the West Atlantic zone to which Senegal belongs. Mali's request for 504 tons of food grains could not also be processed because of the lack of the State's commitment to replenish the stock.

The Committee's decision to initiate the stocks rotation of products bought to warehouses in 2017 resulted in an operation in Ghana under an agreement between Ecowas and the Government for the supply of the Government’s flagship of “Free Secondary Education Program”. This operation made it possible to test the general rules for stocks rotation.

To recall, the Food Security Storage Support Project in West Africa has so far made helped to build the physical stock up to 31,422.5 tons of food grains made up of maize, millet, sorghum and rice.