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ECOWAS is actively involved in the agricultural and food self-sufficiency of citizens of the Region Presently, implementation of activities in the agricultural sub-sector revolves around four components of the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme (RAIP) adopted by the ECOWAS authorities to ensure ECOWAP implementation:

These include:

–    Promotion of strategic projects for food security and food sovereignty,

–    Promotion of a global environment conducive to regional agricultural development,

–    Reduction of food vulnerability and the promotion of sustainable access to food, and

–    Governance, coordination and monitoring-evaluation of ECOWAP implementation.

In the area of Promotion of strategic products for food security and sovereignty, ECOWAS conducted several activities in conjunction with member states which yielded concrete results including:

–    The validation of the three transformative programmes by the Specialized Technical Ministerial Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources aims to boost the region’s agriculture, namely, (i) the regional programme for support to the social security nets, (ii) the regional programme for agricultural intensification and the development of pastoralism, and (iii) the regional programme for market regulation.

–    The Commission also embarked on the official launch of RFAA (Regional Food and Agriculture Agency) as well as the installation of the team responsible for its organization.

Similarly, in the aspects of Formulation and implementation of National Agricultural Investment Programmes by the member States, ECOWAS has ensured that

–    All the member states have completed the formulation of their NAIP and are at the implementation stage. Of the fifteen (15) ECOWAS member States, so far Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, and Senegal have devoted 10% of their national budgets to investments in Agriculture by lending support in the form of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, foods, cattle to farmers, as well as farming implements including ploughs, harrows, etc.) and mowing and hay compacting to ensure feeding productive animals in the dry season. The cumulative total of the amounts funded by the countries that have communicated figures reveal that the global cost of the NAIS is US$21.35 billion, with the exception of Liberia, which has not communicated any information. Nigeria is in the full process of restructuring its agriculture, which must be turned towards Agrobusiness so as to palliate “peak oil”  for the conventional crude which seems to have started in 2006 for all crude oil-producing countries with the exception of bituminous reserves. In the new era, Nigeria contemplates endowing farmers with models of tractors with adequate means. The table below gives an idea of the financing needs by 2015. It indicates what it has been possible to mobilize and what is left to be.

–    In addition to these financings for projects for vegetable, animal and fishery production programmes, the agricultural productivity programme in West Africa is working on the issue of availability of genetic material (plant seeds, animals, fisheries, roots and tubers) of good quality for the producers. This programme is in keeping with the NAIPs of the countries and is implemented by CORAF/WECARD at ECOWAS’ request. At the moment, 13 countries are open and are summarized in the table below.

–    The Two countries that have not yet benefited, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, are expected to benefit in the course of 2014.

–    Taking account of these portfolios, which are managed by the level of agronomical and zoo-technical research institutions at the present stage, the following countries have indicated that the cumulative amounts of commitments amount to US$ 9.025 billion. The countries concerned are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

In the area Promotion of a global environment conducive to regional agricultural development, ECOWAS has achieved:

–    The creation of a global environment conducive to the development of a sector and a regional agricultural market is at the core of the RAIP centre of activities. The implementation of the activities of this important intervention Component enabled the attainment of the following major results:

–    The implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Agricultural Information System (ECOAGRIS) was concerned, in its first phase, with seven (7) member states (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal). It enabled an interconnection of the national agricultural information systems. The eight countries (Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo) that are not yet integrated into the ECOAGRIS system to ensure timely acquisition of statistics on Agriculture and Trade of agricultural products within ECOWAS. Thus, we could have a yearly report on Agriculture and Trade of agricultural products within ECOWAS in the coming two years.  A cooperation Protocol is due to be signed among the regional institutions concerned with the agricultural information systems for the operationalization of the mechanism (ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS, FAO/SRO).

–    Signing of partnership agreements with nine socio-professional organizations (APESS/CORET, AFAO/WAWA, COFENABVI-AO, UOFA-AO,  NANTS, RBM, RESIMAO, ROPPA), and Civil Society (POSCAO) with regional bases and national functional platforms  for boosting the Agricultural sector booster Plant and animal productions (plant and animal productions) in the region. These organizations are responsible for aiding ECOWAS in establishing Observatories on peasant agriculture, cross-border grazing, cattle rearing within ECOWAS, and the collection of statistics within the territorial space of ECOWAS as well as the ECCAS countries, especially Cameroun and Chad, which practice a lot of trade in cattle rearing with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Furthermore, given the existence of a high number of women working in the area of agricultural produce processing in urban areas and especially in rural areas, AFAO/WAWA will assist ECOWAS training to evolve towards establishing acceptable norms for the processed products (packaging, hygiene, etc.) agreements. Signing the agreements will improve professional organizations’ participation in the implementation of the ECOWAP/PDDAA within the framework of the ongoing structuring of the chains.

–    Concerning extension, a framework document proposing a structuring of the animal production chain (meat – milk) was prepared with FAO technical support. This work will be compared with what UEMOA did in federating initiatives in the region   in the ECOWAS agricultural policy. Similar work is underway for the plant production chains, and will be completed in the course of 2014. The space will thus have different stages in the area of the different agricultural production chains.

–    The validation by the EU under the 10th EDF, of the “Regional project to combat fruit flies”   (Euro 17 million), which will equally be accorded financial contribution by the French Development Agency (supplementary amount of 1.5 million euro) that will enable the project take-off in early 2014.

–    Soil fertility in West Africa is a serious problem. The ECOWAS Commission is therefore working on networking the laboratories on fertilizer quality control. Moreover, to ensure an improved use of nitrogen by the plant, a programme for spraying the plants, through Urea landfills is in the process of formulation. This will improve crop productivity and reduce the emission of nitrogen oxide Moreover, the first annual forum of fertiliser promoters made important recommendations for preventing the use of chemical fertilizers from adversely affecting the environment. Several recommendations were made and a draft programme is being discussed between the Commission and the partners (IFDC and other bilateral cooperation). As a recommendation, it is worth considering the formalization of the stakeholders’ platform on fertilizers.

As for the Reduction of food vulnerability and the promotion of sustainable food access, ECOWAS was able to achieve:

–    The adoption of a consultation strategy for the coordinated and harmonized adoption of an ECOWAS consultation strategy  (including Mauritania and Chad): and

–    The formulation and financial evaluation of a regional programme of support to national social security sectors in West Africa. The Council of Ministers is requested to provide the Commission with resources through the Regional Food and Agriculture Agency (RFAA) for an immediate implementation of the programme.

 –    Food and nutritional insecurity can be worsened by the phenomenon of post-harvest contaminations, especially aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is linked to the multiplication of mycotoxins synthétised by the Aspergillus flavu specie. Several types exist that are essentially found in groundnut grains and in their (cakes) higher than 15 and 30° and an 80-85% humidity, infect large quantities of maize and groundnuts during large storage in several countries. It is also toxic to man and animals, especially poultry and animals, the large proportion of whose food composition derives from groundnut cake and maize. An action plan is underway for combatting the phenomenon. A consultation framework for the development of strategies adapted to a successful fight against the expansion of these mycotoxins is underway. The regional plan of action with national definitions could be available during  2014;

–    Access to land is one of the projects ECOWAS is highly engaged in. In that area, during 2013, in keeping with the decision of the African Union Heads of State and Government to develop favourable access conditions for promoters and small producers, including women. A Directive was issued to all Regional Economic Communities to ensure the harmonization of land policies. The ECOWAS Commission, with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), formulated a policy aimed at harmonizing land issues within ECOWAS, and the study was followed by a draft Directive, which was validated by the land and cadastral specialists of the member states in 2013 at Abuja. It was subsequently submitted to the Member States for amendment and comments.

In the area of Governance, Coordination and Monitoring-Evaluation of ECOWAP implementation, ECOWAS has ensured the implementation of the ECOWAP/PDDAA within the responsibility of the ECOWAS Commission based on the mandate of the Heads of State and Government. In this specific area, the following major activities were undertaken:

–    The institutional mechanism was established and the implementation mechanisms are in the process of finalization mainly through the establishment of an Advisory Committee for Food and Agriculture, the Regional Food and Agriculture Agency and the Regional Food and Agriculture Fund. Regarding support to the States, each Member State has, to date, a concerted framework for programming, coordination and monitoring of interventions in the Agricultural sector. As regards the National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP), the ECOWAS Commission continued to mobilize support for the member States for the implementation of their NAIP.  Moreover, to facilitate the establishment of a Monitoring-Evaluation system, the ECOWAS Commission will lend support to the national mechanisms of NAIP monitoring and evaluation, starting from 2014.

Regarding the development and implementation of new regional programmes: with the support of the group of ECOWAP donors (ECOWAP Donor Group), the Commission continued to implement the programmes underway and mobilize funds from the partners of the new programmes and projects for the agricultural sector stakeholders. The new financing acquired in the course of the year for the implementation of these major programmes amounts to more than US$33.35 million. They are:

–    The regional programmes for seeds development (WASP), funded by USAID for about US$9 million.

–    The regional programme for the development of fertilizers (WAFP), financed by USAID for nearly US$20 million.

–    The Project of veterinary governance in Africa funded by the European Union;

–    The Programme for building capacities for the participation of African states in Standardization organizations (PAN-SPSO, 2nd phase), funded by the European Union. The execution of the programme is underway. The resource team has travelled through all the countries to dispense training sessions and to put in place reflection platforms for reflection on the adaptation of cattle rearing workshops in relation with several foods, exchanges with animal products etc.).

–    The “West Africa Hunger-Free Zone” Project financed by German Cooperation at the cost of US$2 million. This programme was officially launched on 27 September 2013 in Lome and should commence its activities in early 2014.

–    The project in support of the implementation of the regional food security reserve, which is in the process of validation by the European Union in the framework of the 10th EDF in the amount of Euro 56 million. Negotiations for this programme have attained their point of completion.  The programme could thus commence in 2014, and the institutions that will be responsible for its implementation have already been identified. The technical unit for the management of the reserve should be located at the Regional Food and Agriculture Agency in Lome (Togolese Republic).

–    A proposal made for the establishment of an aspect on Cattle food within the Regional Food Reserve has also been prepared in the framework of partnership signed between ECOWAS and RBM. The configuration of this aspect is the same as that of the Regional Food Reserve (financial stocks and physical stocks) as indicated in the table below

 –   The Commission’s capacity building programme to support the member States in formulating projects under NAIP, and the region under RAIP, funded by Spain and implemented by FAO. This programme will help develop the capacities of the region and the Member States (upon request) to develop credible and bankable projects, that meet the criteria laid down by the donors and the financing institutions;;

–    USAID and Spanish cooperation’s support for the capacity development of the Commission with a view to operationalizing the RFAA.

Monitoring programmes under implementation: Several cooperation projects have been negotiated since 2010/2011 with technical and financial partners and are under implementation. They are the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAPP), the joint UEMOA-CEDEAO project Regional market of inputs (MIR PLUS), the Food facility project, the West African regional food security project, etc. On the basis of the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity, the implementation of these programmes is entrusted to the regional technical and financial partners (ECOWAS partnership agreements). The Commission ensures its role of coordination, steering and orientation. The key partner institutions, among others, are: CSAO/OCDE, IFDC, CORAF/WECARD, UNOPS, IFPRI, regional-FAO, CILSS, etc.


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