Yaounde, Cameroon, 21-25 February 2000


Table of Contents




a. Natural Resources
b. Crops
c. Livestock
d. Agricultural Support Systems
e. Research and Technology
f. Rural Development
g. Women in Agricultural and Rural Development
h. Food and Nutrition
i. Food and Agricultural Information and Analysis
j. Food and Agricultural Policy
k. Fisheries
l. Forestry
m. Investment Programme



a. The Problem
b. Regional Priorities
. Synthesis and Activities



1. Agricultural productivity and production in Africa continued to grow at a much slower pace in relation to population, putting undue pressure on the natural resource base. Food insecurity and the level of poverty have been increasing at very alarming rates. Civil wars that have been raging on the continent for the past decades have also contributed immensely to this dismal situation. Although food insecurity has increased in Africa at the aggregate level, progress has been made in reducing food insecurity in some African countries. According to the recently published FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 10 of the 40 countries that have made significant progress in meeting the World Food Summit target are in sub-Saharan region. Also, some of the 12 countries in the near-East and North Africa region that have made such progress are on the African continent. Furthermore, all the 5 countries in the world that have registered the largest reductions in malnutrition during the 1980-96 period are in Africa.

2. However, it is important to note that the number of African countries that have made such progress is still small. It is against this background that during the biennium, FAO has continued its technical assistance to member countries, focusing on food security, reduction of poverty and sustainable use of natural resources. To achieve the expected results, the Organisation has maintained its programme of activities in the areas of natural resource management, agro-based and food industries; animal health and production; agricultural research and technology; agrarian reforms and rural development; women in development; marketing and credit policies; food quality control and nutrition; agricultural information and early warning systems; agricultural policy; statistical development; fisheries and aquaculture; and forestry.


3. The Twentieth Regional Conference recommended that:

     The following brief summarises the actions taken on the above recommendations:

4. The expertise available in the region has been strengthened through the transfer to the Regional and Sub-regional Offices of a large number of professionals, including livestock experts. FAO has continued to provide technical assistance to member countries to enable them develop policies that clarify the roles of the public sector, private sector, NGOs and civil society in order to enhance food security at all levels, giving due consideration to women and children. A Regional Workshop was organised in 1998 on the nature and extent of Public Assistance to Agriculture and took into account gender and environmental concerns.

5. FAO has assisted member countries to monitor and evaluate the follow-up activities of the World Food Summit and has also extended technical assistance to regional groupings such as ECOWAS, SADC, CILSS, IGAD and UEMOA.

6. FAO has continued to strengthen its co-operation with other UN Agencies and African Organisations and Commissions. The Organisation has been involved in the UNDAF process at country level and has held taskforce meetings and other activities for the promotion of UNSIA, in close collaboration with UN Agencies and African Organisations. At the country programme level, FAO has fielded missions and developed projects and programmes that involved several agencies and organisations. At the regional and sub-regional levels, FAO has assisted in the elaboration of food security strategies as follow-up to the World Food Summit Plan of Action (Document ARC/00/5 refers).


a. Natural Resources

7. During the biennium, assistance was provided to a number of African countries to assess the impact of soil erosion, to standardise soil analytical procedures and to conduct integrated soil management studies. Two sub-regional workshops, one on Land Degradation control and another on Land and Water Resources Systems were held in Ghana and Benin respectively in December 1998. In collaboration with the OAU/STRC, a regional workshop on fertiliser use was held in Burkina Faso in July 1999. Assistance was also provided on the formulation of Irrigation Policy and Strategy in Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda.

8. A workshop for West and Central Africa on cost effective Irrigation Technology Transfer in Support of Food Security was organised in Burkina Faso in November 1998. Furthermore, demonstration and advice on local manufacturing of irrigation equipment was provided in Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. Workshops were also held to promote Land and Water Resources Information Systems.

9. Under the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), assistance in the formulation of water projects was provided to Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and Togo. Small-scale irrigation projects were formulated and funded under the SPPD by UNDP in Benin, Guinea Bissau, Niger and Nigeria. FAO provided technical assistance to formulate investment pilot projects for the sustainable socio-economic development of oncho-free zones in Bénin, Côte d' Ivoire, Sénégal Guinée, Togo and Ghana, with financial support from UNDP. FAO provided assistance and collaborated with regional organisations like ARID, CILSS, ECOWAS, the Lake Chad Basin and UEMOA in the area of institutional strengthening and capacity building relating to water resource development and management. FAO, in cooperatation with SADC, initiated the first phase of a sub-regional programme, "Learning to Live with Drought", which aims to identify and develop technologies, policies and strategies that would enable farming systems to cope with droughts. These included evaluation of water harvesting techniques in Central and West Africa, studies and workshops on peri-urban small-scale irrigation technology and development and an FAO/WMO seminar in Ghana on the application of climatic data for planning and management of sustainable rainfed and irrigated agriculture.

10. FAO-SDRN continues to operate the AFRICOVER project which commenced in 1995 and aims at establishing a digital land-cover database for selected sub-regions in Africa. FAO and IPTRID organised two regional sector consultations in May 1999 on " Water for Food - Vision for the 21st Century". FAO and the World Bank continue to implement the Regional Environmental Information Management Project (REIMP) in Central Africa involving some 100 organizations from the public, private and NGO sector, and aims at improving and strengthening planning and management of natural resources in the Congo Basin.

b. Crops

11. Member country capacity building for planning and implementation of farmer-based participatory IPM through Farmer's Field Schools activities was continued in a range of crop production systems and the training of trainers and farmers in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A network of IPM activities at the national level has been established through the Global IPM Facility.

12. FAO has undertaken activities concerning Plant Genetic Resources and Seed Production. During 1998, meetings were held in Benin, Botswana and Cote d'Ivoire, which led to an agreement to establish an African Seed Network.

13. At present, rice intensification is part of the SPFS in 12 African countries. The Organisation and WARDA are working on rapid rice technology diffusion in West Africa and compiling data on rice varieties for different rice ecologies. FAO is supporting the development of new rice varieties and the dissemination of information on rice and other crops through the Internet. A training course. focusing on dairy farming and forage and fodder tree utilisation, was organised for East African Scientists and Extension Officers. . A joint FAO/IT book on pastoral mobility has been published.

14. FAO provided assistance to some countries to assess farmers' practices on plant nutrient management and to implement integrated plant nutrition system (IPNS) field trials. The Organisation implemented two TCP projects on the planning and management of land resources in The Gambia and Ghana. A number of Regional Workshops were organised on management of wetlands, establishment of land resource, land degradation information system and on the state of land resource.

15. Support has been given through projects formulation, such as the crop intensification component of the SPFS in Ghana; advise in the launching of Côte d'Ivoire's SPFS; formulation of the pasture development component in the programme for Burkina Faso; a Regional Collaboration on Control of the Larger Grain Borer and Phytosanitary Issues in Southern Africa; formulation of a concept paper on "Drought Impact Mitigation and Prevention" in Southern and Eastern Africa; development of an information pamphlet on plant molecular biotechnology, covering benefits and potential dangers of transgenic crops in Africa; and a workshop on Global Cassava development Strategy held in Ghana for Central and West African countries in June 1999.

c. Livestock

16. Support was provided for the control and, where possible, eradication of the epidemic of African swine fever (ASF) disease. The disease affected the whole of the West African sub-region, causing huge losses to pig farmers. The epidemic has been brought under control in most countries, but the risk still remains as long as other countries are still infected. Similarly, support was provided for enhancing the control of ticks and tick borne diseases. The network of liaison officers on the Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT), through training, information dissemination and technology transfer, was maintained. Support was also given to Senegal and Ghana to conduct small-scale investigations and studies into peri-urban Trypanosomiasis and the conservation of West African Shorthorn cattle through integrated production of crops and livestock. TCP projects were implemented for the control of transboundary diseases in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and |Zimbabwe and for the control of parasitic diseases in Rwanda and South Africa.

17. The implementation of the FAO Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources was further developed in 1998/99 in collaboration with OAU/IBAR, ILRI and respective Regional Organisations, with a regional UNDP financed Project for the SADC countries.

d. Agricultural Support Systems

18. FAO supported meetings of international organisations such as the West and Central African Farming Systems Network (AASFRET) in Bamako, Mali in September 1998 and IITA's Eco-regional Programme in Ibadan, Nigeria, in November 1998. An international workshop on Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in West Africa was organised jointly with the International Board for Soil Research and Management (IBSRAM) in August 1999 in Accra, Ghana. A participatory community planning method (PCP) based on the Asian experience is also currently being tried in Ghana.

e. Research and Technology

19. FAO organised an Expert Consultation on Technology Assessment and Transfer for Sustainable Development, Food Security and Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa, in March 1998. The Consultation, attended by 43 participants representing 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, considered three groups of technologies viz:

20. Selected research institutes have been assisted by the Organisation in:

In the field of international research, FAO continued to support and collaborate with the CGIAR system, SPAAR and sub-regional research organisations, namely ASARECA, CORAF, and SACCAR.

f. Rural Development

21. FAO continued to provide support in the following areas:

To enhance the analysis of issues related to privatisation and land tenure, the Organisation:

g. Women in Agricultural and Rural Development

22. Women in development (WID) activities continued to be organised during the biennium, within the FAO/WID Plan of Action and the Strategic Framework for the Post-World Food Summit period. A Guide was developed on how to integrate gender concerns into water control activities in the national programmes implemented under the Special Programme for Food Security.

23. FAO continued to provide support in the following ways:

h. Food and Nutrition

24. FAO and WHO continued to provide support for the development of National Plans of Action for Nutrition (NPANS). NPANs have been finalised in 21 African countries, are in draft form in 20 and are being formulated in 6 others.

25. FAO provided technical assistance to 22 countries throughout the region to ensure the quality and safety of food sold and consumed. With World Bank support, food quality control missions were fielded to Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania and Ghana. Also, FAO collaborated with the Rotary International Hunger, Health and Humanity Programme, the government of the USA, France, and IITA to establish a Mycotoxin Training Network

26. Assistance is being provided to Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa to improve the safety of street foods. Similar programmes are being designed for Burkina-Faso, Mali, Gabon, Mauritania and Cape Verde. A workshop and a regional seminar for francophone Mayors were organised in Cape Verde.

27. Assistance was provided to West African and SADC countries to establish grassroots nutrition training and education programmes. Technical assistance was provided to support training programmes in community nutrition. Assistance is being given to Benin, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea to establish national food composition data bases linked to the AFROFOODS and INFOODS databases with UNU support.

28. As a result of the follow-up to the ICN and WFS, FAO is actively fostering and strengthening interagency collaboration at the country, regional and international levels in the area of food security. A workshop on promoting household food security in Eastern and Southern Africa was held in Nairobi, Kenya in late 1998. FAO continues to collaborate with various UN bodies including IFAD, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, NGOs and IGO, (OAU) to support inter-sectoral work at country level.

i. Food and Agricultural Information and Analysis

29. FAO provided assistance to countries to improve their capacity and capability to produce reliable and timely agricultural statistics and establish sustainable national data collection systems.

30. FAO supported agricultural statistics programmes and projects in 34 countries of the region. Thirteen countries were assisted in project formulation and implementation.

31. FAO, in collaboration with the World Bank and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is assisting the countries of the region to adopt a comprehensive approach to the development of food and agricultural statistics. Under this initiative, advice was provided to seven countries during a regional workshop on Strengthening National Food and Agricultural Statistics Systems in Africa, organised in Conakry, Guinea, in June 1999.

32. To assist countries identify constraints to improvements in their agricultural statistical programmes, FAO organised a National Agricultural Statistical User/Producer Workshop in Guinea in September 1998 and provided substantial support for the organisation of similar workshops in Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritius. A training Workshop on Supply Utilisation Accounts and Food Balance Sheets was organised in Bamako, Mali, for twenty-three countries from North and West Africa.

j. Food and Agricultural Policy

33. Activities in the area of policy assistance to member countries undertaken during 1998-99 included the following:

k. Fisheries

34. The main activities undertaken during the period included:

l. Forestry

35. The following activities were undertaken during the past biennium:

m. Investment Programme

36. During the 1998-1999 biennium, 23 investment projects in sub-Saharan Africa, prepared with major Investment Centre input, were approved for financing by co-operating financial institutions. Total investments for these projects amounted to US$704.63 million, including US$432.24 million in external loans, mainly from the World Bank/International Development Association (WB/IDA), African Development Bank/Fund (AfDB/AfDF), IFAD and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The 15 recipient countries provided the balance.

37. Projects approved included those for the FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) in eight African countries; rural development in 9 countries; research, extension and training in 3 countries; natural resources management in Ghana; forestry development in Niger, and rural and agro-forestry in Cameroon; livestock in Ethiopia, and marketing in Malawi.

38. During the biennium, the Investment Centre assisted in the formulation of some 90 agricultural investment projects in 31 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Preparatory work was completed for 23 of these projects, out of which eight have already been approved. Total investment for the remaining projects is estimated at US$154.7 m.

39. Collaboration started or continued in support of SPFS activities in 25 countries in the region. Technical assistance is being provided for mobilising additional investment resources and developing regional food security programmes in collaboration with sub-regional groupings (Document ARC/00/6 refers).

40. The Memorandum of Understanding between the World Bank and FAO has heightened co-operation between the Investment Centre and the Bank in Africa in the fields of small-scale irrigation, linked to the SPFS, in 14 countries; food quality standards in 6 countries; the soil fertility initiative in 16 countries; and agricultural statistics in 7 countries (Ghana, Madagascar, Guinea, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia).

41. In co-operation with FAO's Technical Co-operation Programme, investment projects have been formulated to assist resettlement in the Onchocerciasis-freed areas in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

42. Co-operation with the African Development Bank continued during the biennium with work programmes in 23 countries in the region.

43. Collaboration with IFAD in Africa covered the areas of micro-finance development in Cameroon; cassava development in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria; rural development in Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Morocco, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Uganda; Onchocerciasis control in Guinea; natural resources management in Lesotho; smallholder support services and marketing in Mozambique and Zambia; agricultural services and food security in Côte d'Ivoire; land conservation in Ghana; private sector development in Guinea Bissau; flood recession in Mauritania; rural diversification and food security in Mauritius; natural resources management in Niger; and small-scale irrigation in Tanzania. Formulation has also been completed for a banana rehabilitation project in Guinea for the Common Fund for Commodities.


44. Activities in Africa during the 1998/99 biennium in respect of Emergency Prevention Systems (EMPRES) included the following:

45. The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), endorsed by the World Food Summit, has provided the focus for most FAO assistance to many of the Low-income food-deficit countries in the region. To date, SPFS is fully operational in 30 countries and under formulation in 14 others in Africa. A comprehensive report on World Food Summit Follow-up: Special Programme for Food Security is presented as Working Document ARC/00/5.

46. With regard to the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information Mapping System (FIVIMS), one of the major programme initiatives from the World Food Summit, initial activities commenced in some eight countries in 1999 and many more are planned for the year 2000. By helping to map out food insecurity and vulnerability, the system contributes to the design and implementation of appropriate policies and programmes to combat poverty and food insecurity.

47. TCDC Activities supported by FAO in Africa have been successfully implemented by RAF, since the Twentieth FAO Regional Conference for Africa through TCDC programmes with the majority of African countries that have signed the agreements under the Partnership Programmes. In addition, RAF has followed up with the implementation of the trilateral co-operation among African countries, other developing countries and FAO, in accordance with the provisions of the South-South Co-operation initiative. Countries involved so far include India, China, Cuba and Vietnam.


a. The Problem

48. Since the 1960’s the situation of food and agriculture in Africa has continued to deteriorate, as exemplified by the declining per capita food supply. This has resulted in a high incidence of malnutrition and deplorable socio-economic conditions for large segments of the population which has necessitated increased food imports and aid, to bridge the gap between food production and population growth, and its attendant adverse effects.

49. The major factors that account for this poor performance of African agriculture include structural and institutional bottlenecks, lack of appropriate agricultural policies, inadequate agricultural incentives, limited adoption of technologies and rapid degradation of the natural resource base. Consequently, the contribution of agriculture to economic growth and development has declined significantly and there has been no perceptible structural transformation of African economies to reverse the situation.

50. To enhance food security and enable agriculture play its pivotal role as the engine of growth in most African economies, and at the same time preserve and improve the natural resource base, will require political will and strong commitment, on the part of African member states to take firm action to implement the necessary policy and institutional reforms and increase public resource allocation to the sector.

b. Regional Priorities

51. Accordingly, the priorities of the region will continue to be the enhancement of the contribution of agriculture to economic growth and development and the preservation of the natural resource base, leading to improvement in the food security situation of the African people.

  • develop water resources and expand the area of cultivated land under irrigation;
  • develop agricultural and other rural infrastructure and institutions;
  • enhance the development of rural human resources through capacity building for non-governmental organisations, farmers’ associations and other agriculture-related professional associations and increase the empowerment of rural women and other disadvantaged groups;
  • promote the sustainable use and integrated management of land resources, forest cover and wildlife, marine and fresh water resources;
  • improve Government and private sector food quality control systems in order to facilitate access to international food trade and to meet Uruguay Round and Codex requirements;
  • accelerate regional cooperation and the integration of the Africa region into the world economy through enhanced investment flows and trade; and
  • establish the possibility of integrating the issue of HIV/AIDS and agriculture in the regional programme and relevant projects. This follows the signing of a co-operation framework between FAO and UNAIDS.

c. Synthesis and Activities

52. Working as a multi-disciplinary team, in collaboration with national officials, development partners, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, farmers’ associations, and other related agriculture-based professional associations, Officers of the Regional and Sub-regional Offices, in consultation with Headquarters Divisions, will quantify sectoral objectives and determine appropriate technical, institutional and policy interventions. At the request of member countries, and in consultation with other partners, they will contribute to the preparation of development programmes/projects and investment proposals.

The following are the specific activities proposed for the 2000 – 2001 biennium:

53. Policy assistance will continue to be provided to ensure that the global economic environment and the macro economic framework of each member state are taken into account in the activities proposed by the Regional Office to ensure the achievement of the stated regional priorities. FAO will continue to assist member countries to ensure consistency and coherence between macro economic and sectoral policies.

54. Member states will continue to be assisted to prepare and implement appropriate food security strategies and programmes, in co-operation with relevant sub-regional economic groupings and institutions, develop information systems for the prevention and management of food crises and formulate policies for their enhanced integration into the world economy.

55. With emphasis on FAO’s priority programme for food production in support of food security, issues related to land degradation and its negative impact on food production will be addressed and land improvement for enhanced productivity, will also be vigorously pursued.

56. Promotion of technologies and training in the management of small-scale water resources, improvement in the performance of irrigation systems, as well as promotion of appropriate water policy will be actively pursued as key inputs for increased food production. The participation of rural communities in animal production, particularly of short cycle species, will be promoted.

57. For plant production and protection activities, sustainable field crop production and related cropping systems, intensive grassland and folder production, integrated pest management (IPM), focusing on farmers’ field schools training methodology, will be promoted.

58. Income-generating activities are important contributors to food security in rural areas. Rural-based, small-scale agro-processing industries, which generate income and alleviate women’s burdens, will be promoted.

59. The Organisation will assist member states to adopt participatory management of natural forests and development of non-wood products, including wildlife resources, in order to contribute to food security in Africa. Support will continue in the follow-up to UNCED in forestry, especially with regard to the implementation of IPF recommendations.

60. The Forestry Sector Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA), to be finalised during the biennium, will make an in-depth assessment of the overall status of African Forestry as well as map out its future course for sustainable development.

61. With respect to the Fisheries sector, action will be taken to raise current levels of consumption. The main focus will be to promote greater participation of the African member states in the fishing industry in the region through the following:-

62. The Regional and Sub-regional Offices will assist member countries in Africa to establish better monitoring and surveillance systems to control food and nutritional vulnerability and ensure better planning and food aid targeting.


63. The quest for food security will continue to be the major thrust of the FAO’s work in the Africa region for decades to come. In this vein, the focus of the next biennium, at the policy level, will be on assisting FAO Member States to: (i) reassess their macro-economic, sectoral, sub-sectoral and commodity-specific economic policies and initiate appropriate reforms in order to create conducive conditions for setting the food and agricultural sector on an accelerated, broad-based and sustainable path for growth; (ii) reconsider their current public assistance policies towards the food and agricultural sector in terms of policy and institutional reforms and public resource allocation; (iii) participate actively in the world trade in order to promote the integration of the region in the world economy; and (iv) develop gender disaggregated agricultural statistics for effective programming and planning.

64. At the field programme level, the assistance to Member States will concentrate on helping them to: (i) continue their efforts in areas of water resource development and use, animal health and production, and crop production and protection; (ii) address issues related to degradation and improvement of land and other natural resources; (iii) promote rural-based small-scale agro-processing industries; (iv) strengthen both formal and informal rural credit and financial markets; (v) mobilise support from development partners for the implementation of national forestry programmes in the region; (vi) promote their greater participation in the fishing industry and develop environmentally-sound aquaculture; and (vii) establish better monitoring and surveillance systems to control food and nutritional vulnerability, ensure better planning and food aid targeting, adopt food-based programme approach in order to address overall malnutrition and micro-nutrients; and develop information systems for the prevention and management of food crises.