REGIONAL AGENCY FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
AGENCE RÉGIONALE POUR L'AGRICULTURE ET L'ALIMENTATION
AGÊNCIA REGIONAL DA AGRICULTURA E ALIMENTAÇÃO
From 28 April to 7 May 2021, the ECOWAS Commission, in partnership with UEMOA and CILSS, organized an international online conference on the West African food security storage system. Over the course of 5 days, more than 600 participants discussed a wide range of issues related to food security storage and formulated a Declaration known as the "Accra Declaration", which recommended, among other things, that the "1 million Silos for West Africa and the Sahel" initiative be implemented.
On that occasion, FAO made a commitment and called on the International Community and all technical and financial partners to join forces to support the ECOWAS Commission in launching a major programme to scale up family and community silos: the "1 million silos for West Africa and the Sahel" initiative.
With this in view, ECOWAS and FAO commissioned a study to take stock of storage policies and practices in five countries: Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, with the aim of proposing strategic guidelines and a programme to develop local storage in target countries.
The results of this study, carried out in 2022 by CORAF, were shared with stakeholders and partners of the food system in West Africa and the Sahel during the workshop on regional reference systems for local storage, held on 18 November 2023.
The study shows that storage practices are still predominantly traditional in these countries, and that farmers use local structures when the value chain is economically attractive, and if storage in these structures is associated with access to other goods and services.
Furthermore, the storage deficit in all countries is not only quantitative but also qualitative, and the quality of the service currently offered by local storage facilities is not sufficient to encourage farmers to store their crops there. Finally, the failure to improve storage capacity, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is likely to lead to an increase in post-harvest losses.
Based on these findings, the study suggested setting up a pilot Regional Programme for the Development of Local Storage (PRDSP) in 5 countries to: (i) strengthen the institutional environment of the local storage system, (ii) promote improved technologies for local storage that meet users' needs, and (iii) strengthen the system for setting up business models for the provision of storage infrastructure and equipment.
The results of the study have been endorsed, with proposals for improvements included in the data. The idea of a regional programme for the development of local storage was welcomed, but the stakeholders wanted it to cover all 15 ECOWAS states. Other partners will be approached for complementary studies in the ten other countries not covered by the first study.