Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Agricultural Growth in West Africa: Market and Policy Drivers

2 July 2015. Rome. FAO. The report, "Agricultural Growth in West Africa: Market and Policy Drivers" (AGWA), comes at a time of great dynamism in the patterns of food demand in Africa.

The Agricultural Growth in West Africa (AGWA) study has been a joint undertaking of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The report stresses that while increasing agricultural yields is essential, more attention needs to be placed on the downstream segment of the agrifood system: assembly, storage, processing, wholesaling and retail.
  • For example, domestic food processing companies often prefer to import raw materials such as fruit juice concentrate, wheat and vegetable oil rather than sourcing them domestically or developing substitutes based on local raw materials because local supply chains are too weak and fragmented to provide them reliably.
  • Appropriate policies will vary by country and market segment, but broad efforts to upgrade small and medium enterprises in food processing should be a policy priority, along with strengthening the linkages between market-oriented family farms and their organizations with agribusiness of all sizes to enhance access to markets, inputs and support services. Special attention should be placed in supporting women entrepreneurs, who play a key role in the agrifood system from farming through retail, and to youth.
  • As the post-harvest segments of the agrifood system grow ever-more important, addressing the varied demands on the system will require going beyond the traditional mandates of Ministries of Agriculture to focus on interconnections among issues as diverse as research, transport investments, trade policies, and nutrition education.
  • The report contains in-depth analysis highlighting these interconnections. For example, transport prices for farm produce in West Africa are much higher than in other developing regions, hampering intraregional trade and harming producers and consumers alike.
  • Addressing this situation requires a combination of measures ranging from investments in road infrastructure through improved road governance to reforming trucking regulations to instill greater competition.
Based on a detailed analysis of the drivers and trends shaping the development of West Africa's agrifood system and the system's response so far, the study identifies key implications for policies and agricultural investments.

These findings will help inform the deliberations on and new orientations of "ECOWAP-10", ECOWAS' forthcoming update to the current West African agriculture policy, ECOWAP/CAADP.

Related:
6 July 2015. EU support to the region of West Africa reaches €1.1 billion. 
European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, co-signed new regional funding for cooperation with representatives of regional organisations from West Africa, covering the time until 2020. The so-called Regional Indicative Programme under the 11thEuropean Development Fund amounts to a total of €1.15 billion.

The West Africa Regional Indicative Programme was co-signed by President Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and President Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

The Programme focuses on three areas of cooperation:
  • Peace, security and regional Stability, including support to ECOWAS in its regional peace and security mandate and funding for peace and security initiatives, including migration.
  • Regional economic integration and trade, to strengthen trade, the private sector and regional integration and support infrastructure
  • Sustainable Development of natural resources and biodiversity, which covers support to resilience, food security and nutrition as well as environmental protection, biodiversity and climate change.
16 Countries benefit from the EU-West Africa Regional Indicative programme: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

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