Home > Regions > West Africa

FAO in emergencies app

Download now!

Recent Appeals

Documents

Projects

Other Resources

Connect with us

West Africa and Sahel Programme

West Africa and Sahel Programme

In the West Africa and Sahel region, millions of vulnerable people who depend on the production, marketing and consumption of crops, livestock, fish, forests and other natural resources are confronted by recurring disasters and crises. These shocks undermine their livelihoods and threaten their food and nutrition security. Drought, floods, the locust threat, socio-political instability or rising food prices exacerbate the structural weaknesses of countries in this region, known for their decreasing soil fertility and desertification, insufficient agriculture investments, high poverty rate and population growth.

Food security and livelihoods challenges in 2014

Despite the 2013 harvest in the Sahel being equivalent to the last five years average, over 20 million people will struggle with food insecurity in the Sahel in 2014.

Vulnerable households have barely recovered from the previous food security crises (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012), and need support to become more resilient. Without adequate means to restore their livelihoods, they will be forced to turn to negative coping mechanisms (sale of livestock and agricultural inputs, reducing number and quality of daily meals, accumulating debt, decreasing expenditures for education, health and malnutrition-related care, selling their force labour on the detriment of cultivating their own plot, etc.) leaving them even more vulnerable to future shocks thus aggravating food insecurity.

In addition to the life saving and livelihoods restoration from current food insecurity, additional challenges should be addressed in 2014:

  • Possible erratic climatic patterns or drought which may cause loss of crops and livestock hence disrupting livelihoods;
  • Population displacements due to possible natural or man-made disasters;
  • Desert locust constituting a perennial threat to crops if not timely controlled;
  • Humanitarian access, regularly jeopardized by armed group;
  • Timely funding of agriculture and livestock activities;
  • Important livelihood needs unaddressed in the past years. In fact while the assistance provided in response to the Sahel crisis has been crucial, millions of households did not benefit from adequate support and will require reinforced assistance in 2014.

FAO and resilience in West Africa/Sahel

It is crucial to break the vicious cycle of crises by proactively building the resilience capacities of farmers, agropastoralist, pastoralists and fishermen communities to cope with these shocks. As part of its objectives to increase the resilience of livelihoods from disasters, FAO, with national and regional partners, (i) analyses vulnerabilities, (ii) protects the livelihoods and food security of the most vulnerable populations through prevention and mitigation measures, and (iii) restores and strengthen affected livelihoods to respond to crises.

FAO’s Regional Resilience, Emergency and Rehabilitation Office for West Africa/Sahel (REOWA) was created in Dakar in 2006 to enable FAO to liaise and coordinate with humanitarian actors at regional level. The Office also provides strategic humanitarian guidance for FAO’s country offices in the sub-region.

Related Topics

 - More than 80 percent of people in Guinea-Bissau – one of the poorest countries in the world – earn a living from agriculture. Rice and cashews are two important crops ...READ MORE
 - Despite considerable improvements in the Ivorian refugee situation in Liberia, thousands of refugees still remain and rely on Liberian host-communities for food security. FAO is providing the right inputs and ...READ MORE
 - Contribuer à la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle des populations vulnérables dans le sud de la Mauritanie, en préservant et renforçant leurs moyens de subsistance agricole.
14/05/2013
 - To strengthen coordination of emergency food security response through food security needs analysis and assessments, and promote best practices in order to meet the needs of ...read more
14/05/2013
 - L'Essentiel Campagne agropastorale 2012-2013 : baisse des productions agricoles au Nigeria Situation toujours très précaire au Mali, en particulier au Nord pour les pasteurs Prix des céréales sèches en ...read more
17/04/2013
 - The European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO)-funded project, entitled “Emergency food security assistance for Ivorian refugees and affected host communities in Liberia”, is ...read more
15/04/2013
 -  Despite good agricultural production in 2012 and good conditions for pastoralists, the situation in the Sahel remains critical, mostly due to the impact of the 2012 ...read more
11/04/2013
 - En Afrique de l’Ouest et au Sahel, la FAO met tout en oeuvre pour renforcer la résilience des communautés et réduire leur vulnérabilité aux différents chocs. ...read more
03/04/2013
 - In November 2010, Côte d’Ivoire held presidential elections – a long awaited democratic step anticipated by political forces - since the war in 2002. The Independent ...read more
14/03/2013
 -  Despite good agricultural production in 2012 and good conditions for pastoralists, the situation in the Sahel remains critical, mostly due to the impact of the 2012 ...read more
12/03/2013
 - Key points Persistent food insecurity due to floods, high rates of malnutrition and high food prices for the poorest households in the Sahel, consequences of the 2011-2012 ...read more
11/03/2013
 -  Despite good agricultural production in 2012 and good conditions for pastoralists, the situation in the Sahel remains critical, mostly due to the impact of the 2012 ...read more
22/02/2013