In 2005 the ECOWAS Heads of States adopted the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP), as an instrument for the coordination of the Comprehensive Africa  Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), the agricultural component of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), within the region. This policy has a vision of “a modern and sustainable agriculture, based on the effectiveness and efficiency of family farms and the promotion of agricultural enterprises through the involvement of the private sector. Productive and competitive in the intra-Community and international markets, it must ensure food security and remunerative incomes to its workers”.

The implementation of ECOWAS/CAADP is based on the implementation of investment programs at the national level (NAIP) as well as at the regional level. The Regional Agricultural Investment Programme (RAIP) consists of six components:
The improvement of water management, consisting of (i) the improvement of irrigation, (ii) the integrated management of invasive aquatic plants and (iii) capacity building for organisations in the cross-border basins;

The improved management of other shared natural resources, including (i) the organization of transhumance and the planning of the route taken, (ii) the sustainable management of forest resources and (iii) the sustainable management of fish resources;
The sustainable development of farms, taking into account (i) the integrated management of soil fertility, (ii) the strengthening of support services provided to producers and (iii) the dissemination of improved technologies;

The development of agricultural value chains and the promotion of the markets, consisting of (i) the development of the different value chains (food, peri-urban agriculture, export crops, short-cycle breeding , agro-forestry products, non-industrial fishing and aquaculture), (ii) the development of product processing, (iii) the strengthening of support services provided to operators and (iv) the promotion of national, regional and international trade;

The prevention and management of food crises and other natural catastrophes, focusing on (i) the promotion of early warning systems, (ii) the development of crises management systems, (ii) support for the rehabilitation of zones after crises and (iv) the development of compensation mechanisms/insurance against catastrophes;

Institutional strengthening, including (i) the integration of a standard approach, (ii) support for the improvement of agricultural and rural policy and strategy formulation capacities, (iii) the sustainable financing of agriculture, (iv) communication, (v) steering and coordination capacity building and (vi) monitoring and evaluation capacity building.

The New ECOWAS Regional Agricultural Investment Plan

Following the specialised technical experts’ meeting, ECOWAS ministers endorsed the new ECOWAS Regional Agricultural Investment Plan and Food and Nutrition Security (RAIPFNS) on 12 December 2016 in Abuja. They also adopted a strategic framework for 2016-20, including a results framework to measure the impact and progress made in its implementation. The new plan is builds on an in-depth assessment of achievements and takes stock of the limitations of the ECOWAS regional agricultural policy, known as ECOWAP. It also takes into account all major policies and global initiatives (SDGs, Paris Declaration, etc.) relevant to achieving food security, and ultimately food sovereignty in the region. Despite some progress, West African agriculture remains largely under-funded. West African countries devote on average about 5% of their public budget to agriculture, only half of the 10% target fixed by the African Union’s Malabo Declaration. The RAIPFNS aims to 1) contribute to increasing agro-forestry-pastoral and fisheries productivity and production through diversified and sustainable production systems, and to reducing post-production losses; 2) Promote contractual, inclusive and competitive agricultural and food value chains oriented towards regional and international demand, with a view to the regional market integration; 3) Improve access to food, nutrition and resilience for the vulnerable populations; and 4) Improve business environment, governance and funding mechanisms of the agricultural and food sector.

Source Magazine AGRI-CULTURE écrit par Daya Tete Lacle

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