Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness

 Productivité et compétitivité agricoles


West Africa has a significant potential for accelerating its overall economic growth, particularly in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries (ASPH) sector. This growth potential is based on the enormous availability of agricultural land (281.418 million ha, FAOSTAT, 2020), a regional livestock population estimated at nearly 300 million heads (FAOSTAT, 2020), a system of rivers, lakes, and lagoons with extensive deltas offering significant opportunities for rice farming, aquaculture, and integrated fish farming with horticulture, as well as enormous groundwater resources, including in arid regions, which are vital for the future world more than minerals.
Despite an industrial structure that falls short of the region's ambitions, significant gains in productivity and competitiveness are still possible to ensure that agriculture meets the regional challenges of food security and economic growth driven by the ASPH sector. This can be achieved by mobilizing and disseminating improved production and processing technologies, which are key to enhancing competitiveness, ensuring permanent food supplies, increasing incomes, and generating foreign exchange.
This theme is part of the objectives to positively transform the agro-sylvo-pastoral, fisheries, and agro-industrial sectors to meet the challenges of regional and international competitiveness pursued by the ECOWAS through its regional agricultural policy (ECOWAP) and industrial policy (WACIP).
The objective is to intensify the production, dissemination, and adoption of improved technologies in priority agricultural product value chains of member States, organize the stakeholders in the ASPH sectors, maintain a strong industrial structure that is globally competitive, environmentally friendly, and capable of significantly improving the standard of living of the population.
The implementation strategy revolves around regional coordination of the development of efficient production and processing systems, multi-stakeholder consultations between ECOWAS and technical partners to ensure synchronization of regional actions, including those under the WACIP in this field, the establishment of financing mechanisms, structural investments in irrigation systems utilizing both groundwater and surface water resources, strengthening agri-food processing as well as intra-regional and international trade of high-value-added products, among others.
This theme contributes to the achievement of two (02) out of the four (04) strategic axes of ECOWAP: "Contribute to increasing agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries productivity and production through diversified and sustainable production systems, and reducing post-harvest losses" and "Promote contractual, inclusive, and competitive agricultural and agri-food value chains oriented towards regional and international demand, and integrated into a regional market integration perspective." The main stakeholders involved in the implementation are CORAF, GIZ, BMGF, CILSS, UEMOA, RAAF, ECOWAS, and FAO.
Several projects are currently being implemented in this field, including: (i) implementation of the West Africa seed system analysis and regional program development, (ii) ECOWAS rice observatory, (iii) MOVE Program, (iv) Family farming, regional markets, and cross-border trade corridors in the Sahel and West Africa project, (v) Development of priority agricultural value chains: structuring rice-maize-cotton agricultural value chains, the PARIIS project, among others.
Technical and financial partners for these projects include the German cooperation (BMZ), GIZ, the World Bank, UEMOA, CILSS, etc.