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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid