Strategic Area 1: Contributing to increasing productivity and agro-silvo-pastoral and fisheries production through diversified and sustainable production systems and reducing post-production losses.
This strategic area focuses on production, namely agro-silvo-pastoral and fish farming, land issues and natural resources management (soil, water, forests and biodiversity, marine and river areas, etc.), their production systems, upstream sector (supply of seeds, inputs and equipment), farm financing and climate and market risk management, agricultural research and advisory support, knowledge management, adaptation to climate change and resilience, the reduction of post-harvest losses (which also concerns Area 2), the protection of producers' incomes and the guarantee of decent jobs, etc.
Priority products are products that are considered strategic across the region because of: (i) their centrality in diets, and therefore the achievement of the region's food sovereignty objective; (ii) sub-regional connections of markets and the importance of foreign trade policy; (iii) impacts of national incentive policies (eg targeted input subsidies) on production costs and competitiveness at country level and on neighboring countries; (iv) expected gains from pooling national efforts, particularly in the area of research, capitalization and sharing of good practices; etc.
Strategic area 1 is central for an agricultural policy, especially at national level (subsidiarity principle) for crop production. However, many dimensions require complementary interventions at regional level, particularly in regulatory domain. But there are two sub-sectors for which the regional level is absolutely essential or even decisive: the ruminant livestock subsector and the fisheries sub-sector, for which efforts have been very insufficient in the first decade of ECOWAP. In the case of livestock, the region has a truly integrated West African production and marketing system, with many interrelationships both in terms of natural resources and in terms of markets. Regarding marine and river fisheries, the shared (and threatened) nature of the resource requires coordination and harmonization of national approaches. The region must also work to set up a framework for professional agriculture.