24th Food Crisis Prevention Network Meeting

 

Dakar, Senegal
 25-28 November 2008

The 24th annual Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) Meeting, hosted by the Senegalese authorities, focused on the market’s role and its importance in the promotion of food security in the Sahel and West Africa. Network members also exchanged on the agricultural, food and nutritional situation for the 2008/09 campaign aiming to formulate policy recommendations and thereby facilitate decision-making.

   

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Background | Objectives | Topics | 2008/09 Campaign | Recommendations | Participants | Contacts & Documents 

    Background

Created in response to the catastrophic drought crisis in the Sahel region in 1984, the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) offers an open forum for discussion and action around food security issues in West Africa. The network brings together West African policy makers and leading international agricultural experts from international organisations (WFP, FAO, WMO), specialised NGOs, producer groups and researchers. The co-ordination of the network is mainly ensured by the CILSS and the SWAC.

  Objectives

  • Share information on the agricultural, food and nutritional situation for the 2008-09 campaign
  • Discuss the market’s role and its importance in the promotion of sustainable food security
  • Make appropriate decisions to foster food security, in particular for vulnerable populations

  Topics

  • Session 1 : Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Situation

  • Session 2: The Market and Food Security
    • Opportunities and strategies for stimulating the West African regional market
    • What are the implications and prospects for the region given the instability of agricultural and agro-food product prices?
    • Agro-food processing and stimulating the regional agricultural and agro-food product market
  • Session 3: Information on Ongoing Food Security Initiatives

 2008/09 Campaign

With cereal production estimated at 54 million tonnes of which 9 million tonnes are rice, the region has had an excellent 2008/2009 agricultural season. In the Sahel, cereal production is estimated at 15.5 million tonnes which is 21% greater than last year (2007/2008) and 24% compared with the average over the last five years. This record production is due in large part to the measures undertaken by States to support and strengthen producers’ capacities through specific programmes to boost agriculture, subsidies and free distribution of agricultural inputs, fiscal measures, etc.

Despite this satisfactory production, the market remains a major concern. Local cereal prices, although lower than at the beginning of the harvest, are still at a higher level than the seasonal average, notably for rice despite the trend in falling world prices. These high prices can be beneficial for producers and a driver to boost local production. Nevertheless, it limits poor consumers in the urban as well as rural environment. 

  Recommendations

RPCA members suggested actions to undertake by the following actors:

West African States should:

  • Support product marketing through the devolution of credit facilities and initiate surplus management measures;
  • Promote direct purchases from producers to reconstitute stocks (community, institutional and private), sales operations, subsidised prices and free distribution;
  • Improve Office storage capacities and encourage cereal stock markets in the sub-region;
  • Implement agro-food processing policies as drivers of local agricultural production creating local employment and stimulating the regional agro-food product market.

Development partners should:

  • Encourage the configuration of agricultural producer organisations so that they can be more effective in marketing agricultural products;
  • Strengthen analytical capacities of national and regional food crisis prevention mechanisms.

The CILSS, ECOWAS and the SWAC should:

  • Examine the relevance and feasibility of a regional food security financial stock;
  • Carry out studies to examine the impact of measures undertaken by States to stimulate agricultural production;
  • Support information mechanisms to improve data quality;
  • Coordinate more the approaches and means to analyse vulnerability and programmes combating malnutrition in the region.

  Participants

About 80 network members, including government officials and policy makers from West African countries and OECD donor countries as well as agricultural experts from international organisations, multilateral and bilateral technical aid agencies, will participate in the meeting. 


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