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The Regional Office for Africa hosts consultations for a prosperous West Africa free from hunger, malnutrition and poverty

FAO Country Representatives from the 15 West African Member States hold annual meeting

Left to right: Serge Nakouzi, Bukar Tijani and Alain Sy Traore (Photo: ©FAO/Patrick Arhim)

26 October 2017, Accra – “Cooperation with strong partners is what can make us move forward and achieve tangible results”, declared Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, closing a successful two-day 10th West African Multidisciplinary Team meeting.

The FAO subregional Multidisciplinary Team meeting for West Africa is held every year to deliberate on the salient issues facing the Member States of the subregion in their quest to develop and sustainably manage their respective agriculture and rural sectors with the aim of embedding food and nutrition security for all in their respective nations. 

FAO Representatives to the 15 member countries of the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), resilience focal points, technical experts, partners* and institutions, UN Agencies as well as farmers’ organizations discussed emerging challenges the region faced in Achieving sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition. 

“I note with satisfaction that three pillars come out as key recommendations: policy support to countries; value chain development and production to enhance rural employment; and capacity development for farmers, in particular through the Farmer Field School platform”, pointed out Bukar Tijani.

FAO provides technical assistance to the ECOWAS and its 15 Member States in West Africa, enabling the implementation and assessment of the first generation of the ECOWAS regional Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP) as well as Regional Agricultural Investment Plans (RAIPs) and National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs).

Alain Sy Traoré, Director in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development at the ECOWAS Commission, said the dialogue on best approaches in agriculture confirmed “the need to strengthen cooperation with FAO and develop together top priorities in the near future”.

The two-day deliberations, led by Serge Nakouzi, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, came out with recommendations that will shape joint actions in the short, medium and long term. “Substantive contributions will feed pertinent development and partnership initiatives in order to advance FAO work in West Africa, both at the national and regional levels”, he noted.

Concrete actions and results

Among concrete actions towards strengthening regional initiatives on ending hunger and malnutrition in West Africa are a review of the Right to Food situation in West Africa; an analysis of the hunger and malnutrition trends over the last 20 years; the formulation of a strategic framework and road map for achieving zero hunger and malnutrition in West Africa by 2025; and a strengthened institutional capacity of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF).

FAO with key partners including Spain, Germany and USAID, continue to give support to strengthening ECOWAS institutional capacity for livestock development. A consultative platform of animal production experts and authorities in West Africa called Animal Production Network (Réseau de production animale, RESPA) was established with a priority on subnetworks dealing with animal genetic resources, animal feed, transhumance and value chain development.

The control of the major Fall Armyworm (FAW) outbreak threatening maize production in West Africa is being effectively addressed. FAO and its partners have provided technical support in sensitizing member countries to enhance awareness for the management and control of this pest management. Technical support is being provided to ten countries.

FAO is providing emergency assistance for the prevention and control of Avian Influenza strain H5N1 HPAI in West and Central Africa and to control H5N1 outbreaks and mitigate risks for further virus spread in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Through various projects including those financed by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF), FAO has built capacities on improved aquaculture production and its use in several countries of West Africa as a means  for  employment creation for youth and women. Study tours were organized to build skills of national experts on the implementation of the aquaculture project and with regards to techniques and methodologies applied in countries with better production system.

FAO has established since the 1980s strong partnerships with key strategic institutions in the West Africa subregion, comprising, inter alia, ECOWAS, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and others to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development with the aim of embedding food and nutrition security for all Member nations in the subregion.

 

*ECOWAS, CILSS, AAIN, ROPPA, Ghana’s Agribusiness Chamber, AfDB and IFAD

 

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