FARM is presenting two studies on the agricultural markets of West Africa. One looks at the agricultural capacity of the region : Will West Africa be able feed its population which is set to double in the next 25 years without resorting to massive imports ? The second study focuses on how the market functions. How can the exchange of agricultural products within ECOWAS and the EU be improved ? How can farmers take advantage of a regional market ?
These two studies were presented at a conference on 25 February and are now available to download.
The studies funded by FARM were carried out by a consortium of research departments and research laboratories (Issala, IRAM, Regional Laboratory for Analysis and Social Expertise - Cotonou, Benin).
The study entitled “Agricultural capacity in West Africa” is based on information drawn from changes in West African agriculture over the last 25 years in order to respond to the question : Will the region be able to guarantee food security for its population which is set to double in the next 25 years without resorting to massive imports ? And under what conditions ?
The study showed that regional farmers can not only respond to local demand but can also position themselves in international markets. To do this, they need ambitious regional and national public policies. The development of West African agriculture requires a real strategy of regional integration, a customs union with commercial policies that allow for a real integration of internal markets.
The study “Improving how agricultural markets function in West Africa” identifies obstacles that hinder exchange and puts forward proposals on how to remove them. How to improve the exchange of agricultural products within ECOWAS countries and between the EU so that regional integration has a long term benefit for African farmers and the overall economy ?
The hypothesis that we have formulated is that improving markets requires a systematic approach that renews partnerships between different stakeholders, notably between regional and national authorities, agricultural organisations and civil society, donors and companies. This systematic approach should mobilise public and private investment. The context is favourable : it is a growth market and peasant groups are willing to change African agriculture.
The two studies were presented on 25 February 2008 during a morning conference which gathered together over 100 people. Participants in the conference included :
Roger Blein, Bureau Issala
Bio Goura Soulé, Laboratory for Regional Analysis and Social Expertise (LARES Benin)
Ndiogou Fall, Network of Peasant Organisations and Agricultural Producers of West Africa (ROPPA)
Laurence Roudart, teacher researcher, UMR Economy, Management and Public Policies AgroParisTech
Benoit Faivre-Dupaigre, Institute of Research and Application of Development Methods (IRAM)
Yacouba Sanon, Department of Agriculture, Rural and Environmental Development, ECOWAS
Soumabere Dioma, Executive Secretary of UGCPA/BM (Union of Associations for the Commercialisation of Agricultural Products from the Boucle du Mouhoun (Burkina Faso)) and Vice president of the Inter-professional Committee of Cereals and Cowpea (CIC-B)
Baba Seid Bally, Entrepreneur – member of the African Agro Export Association (AAFEX)