“Sustainable Agriculture as a means to increase resilience: the vision of West African farmers and producers”

On 13th June 2013, farmers and agricultural producers from West African, in collaboration with the European Commission, the Technical Centre for Agriculture (CTA), and SOS Faim participated in a Roundtable conference on “Sustainable Agriculture as a means to increase resilience: the vision of West African farmers and producers”, in Brussels.

The debate aimed to bring into discussion the experiences and recommendations of the farmers’ organizations from the region, and will feed into the design of the national roadmaps for the implementation of the EU-led Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative (AGIR).
The initiative – launched in December 2012 – is a long term strategy for building resilience in Sahel, in response to the chronic food insecurity in the region.

The representatives of the farmers’ organizations presented several initiatives and experiences in sustainable intensification of production in Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso, aspects of rice marketing in Benin and Gambia, along with examples of financing in Togo and Mali.

Moreover, the meeting brought about several recommendations for the AGIR initiative:
•    Using the  agricultural policy developed by ECOWAS (Economic  Community Of West African States) –  the ECOWAP -, as well as the agricultural policy of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) as the cornerstone of all activities meant to sustainably increase agricultural production in the region.
•    Supporting  family farming at regional and national level to be made the focal point of the next European Developement Fund (EDF) – corresponding to the period 2014-2020.
•    Reinforcing the support – with resources from the next EDF –  for the National Indicative Programmes and the Regional Indicative Programme, which are to be designed as part of the AGIR initiative. This is to be made on the basis of three key intervention areas:
i) strengthening the integration of national and regional markets, by taking into account risks such as climate change and price volatility;
ii) financing of the agricultural sector with the development of innovative and sustainable financing instruments tailored to the needs of the family farm;
iii) strengthening the capacity of farmers’ organizations to support the modernization of family farms.

Launch of the Montpellier Report on “Sustainable Intensification”

Previously, on 28 May 2013, CTA organized an event to mark the launch of the Montpellier report on the topic of sustainable intensification. The event, jointly hosted with the European Commission engaged more than 70 experts in a discussion on the future of African Agriculture.

As we strive to feed a population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, there is a need of a new paradigm for the agricultural system, defined by a “Sustainable Intensification” of production.
On present trends, African food production systems will only be able to meet 13% of the continent’s food needs by 2050, in the conditions in which the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will almost double by 2050, to close to two billion people. There is definitely a lack on the production efficiency side, as yields have increased by over 200% in Asia and Latin America but only by 90% in Africa on average in the last 40 years. At the same time, Africa is one of the continent at most affected by climate changes and land erosions. More than 95 million ha of arable land, or 75% of the total in SSA, has degraded or highly degraded soil. Given than increase in production cannot originate anymore in augmentation of land in use – between 1991 and 2009 per capita arable land fell by about 76m2 per year – a new system has to be proposed to answer these challenges. It will need to offer more outputs, but with a much more efficient use of all inputs on a durable basis, for a reduction of environmental damages, and resilience building.

In order to offer a framework for understanding this concept, and practical approaches to achieving it, the Montpellier Panel has drafted a report entitled ‘Sustainable Intensification: A New Paradigm for African Agriculture’.
You can download the Montpellier report “Sustainable Intensification: A New Paradigm for African Agriculture” here.

You can download the report on the event here

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