News / Africa

West Africa Coordinating Agricultural Production to Improve Food Security

The Economic Community of West African States is working to better coordinate agricultural production to increase profits for farmers and distribute food to areas affected by drought.

West African leaders have a comprehensive agriculture development program to support private sector investment in family farms, make those goods more competitive on international markets, and better guarantee food security.

Sheila Sisulu, the deputy executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, believes that commitment by the regional alliance known as ECOWAS will succeed because it is led by member states, collaborates with development partners, and addresses all aspects of food security.

"They are taking the lead in determining and making sure that food security and agriculture are front and center of their priorities.  I think that is a great step forward," she said.

Sisulu says the alliance's Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program complements existing World Food Program projects, including its Purchase for Progress plan, which strengthens food security while guaranteeing prices for small farmers, most of whom are women in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.

Sisulu says the United Nations can help ECOWAS determine how best to move food within the region from areas of surplus to areas of hunger.

"The other is of course our capacity to do vulnerability analysis and mapping and also early-warning systems, so that the governments are able, collectively through ECOWAS, to know where the crisis might hit, where the response might come from, and how to coordinate that so they prevent crises," she said.

This year, West Africa's biggest food crisis is in Niger, where 60 percent of the population are facing severe food shortages because of poor rains.  The World Food Program is targeting more than 1.5 million people for a general food distribution and as many as 500,000 children under the age of six for specialized therapeutic feeding.

Relief officials say feeding programs are now reaching most of the people at risk.  But there are not yet enough contributions from foreign donors to keep that going through the lean season between harvests.

"The international community has stepped up and the government in Niger has taken responsibility and is very, very responsive to the assistance they are being provided, that they have called for and they are getting.  However, from a WFP/PAM point of view, we still are short of resources.  And we hope, especially as we are really going into the lean season, going forward and heightened hunger, that we will be able to get the resources in," said Sisulu.

Across the Sahel, relief officials say ten million people could be affected by food shortages this year.  The U.N. says more than 850,000 children are at risk of severe malnutrition, mostly in Niger and Chad.  Poor farmers in Niger, Chad, and northeastern Mali will likely need food assistance at least through the early harvests in August.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid