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Agricultural Growth in West Africa: Market and Policy Drivers

Photo credit: FAO

A woman carries water to her crops in Dogondoutchi, Niger.

Huge opportunities for agricultural growth in West Africa

New report sees regional integration as high road to making the most of changing food patterns and dynamic populations

West Africa has unprecedented opportunities for agricultural growth, but making the most of them will require more effective  regional integration, says a new report by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

A woman in Tassa, Nigeria, makes pasta as part of her cooperative's efforts to earn extra income. - http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/newsroom/photos/small_3-westafrica.jpg
A woman in Tassa, Nigeria, makes pasta as part of her cooperative’s efforts to earn extra income. – http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/newsroom/photos/small_3-westafrica.jpg

To be competitive with large global actors, West African agriculture needs to capture some of the economies of scale that those countries enjoy in the markets for fertilizers and seeds as well as in agricultural research and technology development, adds the report.

While important progress towards regional integration has been made over the past two decades, effective implementation at national level has remained a challenge, as evidenced by roadblocks and trade bans hindering intraregional trade, along with continued use of disparate national standards for seeds and fertilizers despite regionally agreed-upon common protocols.

The report, “Agricultural Growth in West Africa: Market and Policy Drivers” (AGWA), comes at a time of great dynamism in the patterns of food demand in Africa.

Read the full article: FAO

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.