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West Africa unveils food security plan

         Date: 2012-09-03

           Tag: West Africa, West Africa food security

Summary: West African countries have unveiled a partnership in a scheme geared towards value addition for a number of key crops in the region.

West African countries have unveiled a partnership in a scheme geared towards value addition for a number of key crops in the region.

The initiative is a partnership between the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and UNDP.
It seeks to boost food production in the region and create jobs and income opportunities for farmers and SMEs involved in cash crops.

Cassavas, mangoes and onions are some of the crops that have been featured prominently in this initiative.
One of three most important sources of calories in the tropics, cassava has over the years become a staple in Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Stiff competition
The region produces enough mangoes for the local and export market. However poor farming practices limit West Africa’s access to markets in Europe.

Burkina Faso, Mail and Nigeria lead the region in onion production.
These countries, however, face stiff competition from farmers in Europe, Asia and North Africa in terms of quality and packaging.

Findings by a study commissioned by USAID show that Burkina Faso loses $10 million in revenues annually due to poor packaging.

UNDP, through its African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM), seeks to build capacity through partnerships to develop inclusive markets that contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with emphasise on the food security aspect and inclusive economic growth.

“A new private sector is emerging in Africa with great potential for creating new jobs, generating higher incomes and delivering products and services for all," said Tomas Sales, AFIM Manager.

"Agriculture value chains and agribusiness are critical to advance food security and economic opportunities,” added Sales.


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