FAO, stakeholders reel out 10 recommendations to boost agri-food systems in West Africa, Sahel

As FG calls for synergy among West African countries

The Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, Thursday, along with other stakeholders and partners reeled out 10 recommendations to boost agri-food systems in West Africa and the Sahel. The stakeholders and partners were drawn from agricultural sectors including crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries and aquaculture in West Africa who met from 15 to 17 March 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria to review the FAO’s 2021 main achievements and the 2022 in West Africa.

This 13th Multidisciplinary Team Meeting initiated by the FAO Subregional Office for West Africa took place under the theme ‘Joining efforts to build resilient agri-food systems in West Africa and Sahel’.

The meeting was under the Chairmanship of Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar.

The SFW Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)  brought together in hybrid mode during three days the Sub-regional Team composed of the Sub-Regional Coordinator, FAO Representatives from the 15 ECOWAS member countries, , Sub-regional Technical Officers, Deputy FAORs, Emergency and Resilience Coordinators, Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) coordinators, Assistant FAO Representatives (Programme and Administration of 15 FAO Representations), FAO Investment Centre officers, SFW Programme and operations experts, Administrative staff, as well as Communication and Resource Mobilization Experts. https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads? Senior Officials from the respective governments and their departmental technical experts, ECOWAS (Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Res, CILSS, UEMOA, G5Sahel, CORAF, Mano River Union, IPAR, Hub Rural (partners), United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programme,  FAO HQ, Country government Representatives and Ambassadors to Rome based agencies, Regional Office for Africa (RAF) and Sub Regional Offices in the Africa Region.

During the meeting, the participants followed with particular attention; FAO’s Achievements in West Africa and the Sahel and challenges faced; Progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 12th Multidisciplinary Team meeting and 31st FAO Regional Conference for Africa; Status of the preparation for the 32nd Regional Conference planned for April 2022; SFW Planned activities for 2022; Partnerships in complementary, mutually supportive action in transforming agri-food systems and ongoing collaboration with FAO in the sub-region; and Concrete examples on gender and youth mainstreaming in agri-food system and ways of engaging private sector.

The participants appreciated the commitment of the subregional office to support agri-food transformation in the sub-region.

The following key recommendations were formulated: Support Livestock and pastoralism for conflict prevention, strengthening animal health using an One Health approach especially PPR and other TADs and improvement of feed availability and sustainable use of natural resources; Continue to strengthen member states capacity to collect and analyze data for evidence-based decision making in support to the transformation of agri food systems; FAO continues to strengthen the efforts to consolidate the partnership with sub-regional institutions, UN agencies, private sector, and support the implementation of the regional initiatives for the resilience of agri-food systems including initiatives towards improved intra-regional trade of agricultural products, inputs and livestock.

recommendations were; Increase interactions and collaborate with research, extension institutions and producers organizations in the development and adoption of innovative products and technologies to support agri-food systems transformation; Present to the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, the results of the government consultations on the scope of the new strategic framework in response to national priorities and the SDGs;  Continue SFW’s support to countries and subregional organizations in line with the results of the 15 countries Governments consultation, which are already reflected in SFW four (4) priority areas; Foster the implementation of the Humanitarian-Peace-Development nexus approach in the context of protracted crises, with focus on local opportunities in terms of resources such as land, water and human resources (youth in particular) and positive narratives; Engage youth and women at the heart of agri-food systems transformation interventions and related projects and programmes; Leverage South-South cooperation to strengthen knowledge sharing, up scaling good practices, capacity building and technical assistance; and        Strengthen the adequacy of the regulatory environment to increase agricultural production, improve nutrition, raise the standard of living of rural populations and contribute to economic growth in the sub region.

Meanwhile, The FAO Representative in Nigeria and to the ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, appreciated the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, for his support, open door granted to FAO and also hosting of the Sub-regional Office for West Africa 13th Multidisciplinary Team Meeting.

Kafeero also thanked regional partners for their support, and asked that the partnership will continue in other areas as well.

Also, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe represented by the Director Land and Climate Change Management, Shehu Bello, commended FAO for the theme ‘Joining efforts to build resilient Agrifood systems in West Africa and Sahel’, and applauded resources persons on their insight and knowledge shared to actualize the theme practically in the various agri-food systems.

Umakhihe also mentioned that to build resilience it the agri-food system there is the need for planning food production up to shop and table.

“These are things we can do if we collaborate and share experience, and that is why this meeting is multidisciplinary.

“And in eradicating hunger and poverty in West Africa is our primary job and the topmost priority for many of us in this hall. It is doable with concerted effort.

“For us in Nigeria, achieving Sustainable Goals 1 and 2 that is achieving zero hunger and no poverty is at the forefront of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Recovery Growth Strategy.

“The Economic Growth Recovery agenda addressing the issues of hunger, poverty and malnutrition, and we even have policy on malnutrition, and this is why we at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are doing everything possible to ensure that we do our best in building a resilient food system in the country that that would stand the shocks of natural and human disasters; climate change and insecurity”, he said.

However, the Ministry’s scribe said with the new agricultural policy is focusing on innovation and technology to strengthen the food system in Nigeria, where programmes are geared towards having strong food system. 

“Nigeria will soon launch a tractor leasing programme in partnership known tractor manufacturing companies and bidders to increase availability of tractors to our farmers to enhance our mechanization drive.

“At this juncture let me call on officials our sister West African countries to see ourselves as food supply because what affects Nigeria, Niger and Ghana affects all of us and vice versa. We should create the synergy to ensure we produce and share them”, he added.

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