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FSN Forum in Africapart of the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition

West African Food Systems and Changing Consumer Demands

Fueled by a burgeoning population, urbanisation and income growth, West African food demand is rapidly transforming, with striking increases in total quantities demanded, growing preference for convenience, diversification of diets towards more perishable products, and an increased concern for product quality. These changes provide great opportunities for the West African food system to increase production, value added, job creation and food security. Yet a number of structural and policy constraints continue to threaten the ability of West Africa to seize these opportunities. This paper analyses the key drivers of change and their implications on the various demands facing the food system. It then looks at how different elements of the food system respond to evolving demands, discusses the constraints to more effective responses, and finally considers some policy implications and key recommendations, particularly in the context of the ECOWAS-led efforts to develop and implement more effective regional agricultural policies.

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