Background | Objectives | Key Outcomes | Country Profiles | Contacts
Despite of important progress made in preventing and managing food crisis, the West African countries have faced food crisis in the last decades. Some of them result from temporary shocks. Others are mainly linked to structural causes of food insecurity. Assessing short-term responses to transitory food insecurity is only a part of the solution. There is a significant convergence on the need for a greater commitment to address long term structural solutions to food insecurity.
Within the framework of the Food Crisis Prevention and Management Network (RPCA), the SWAC in association with the CILSS and other regional actors implicated in food security (Network of Peasant Organizations and Producers in West Africa – ROPPA and ECOWAS) launched this initiative aiming to provide “Country Profiles on Food Security” for the Sahel and West Africa.
Provide an analytical picture of key indicators relating to food security to engender greater understanding of food security and nutrition crisis and their persistence
Contribute to a better assessment of the investment effort made by countries in the area of food security
Facilitate decision-making by various stakeholders comprising governments, civil society, technical and financial partners
The countries analysed do not have the same type of land reserves suitable for farming. Consequently, they are facing very varied problems. The analysis of Sahel countries has however helped identify a number of common points and examine the main causes related to food availability and access to food resources based on the following observations:
The increase in staple food product production and food availability is based essentially on the surface area of cultivated land: a threat in the medium-term.
Little progress has been made in terms of intensification, which benefits mostly cash crops.
Despite great disparities between countries, dependence on imports is limited: for how long?
Structural poverty is still the main hindrance for vulnerable populations to access food resources.
Poverty is above all a rural phenomenon which first affects agricultural producers.
Sahel countries are among those in the world where the nutritional situation is still a major concern.
Food availability and poverty are not the only factors of malnutrition.
Agriculture has become the poor relation for budget allocations.
Civil society organisations are evermore recognised as legitimate actors in food security policies: a major accomplishment of the last decade.
: food security in Burkina Faso is more acute in terms of the inability to access different types of food products and in sufficient quantities. This problem of access is related, on one hand, to modest income levels (46.4% of the population is poor) and on the other, the lack of organisation of the markets which results in price variations of basic food products, in particular in at-risk zones. >> full report
- Cape Verde: agricultural production is greatly limited as the majority of land resources are already in use. While the country will remain structurally a net importer of agricultural products, it has the means to optimise its potential to a greater extent by intensifying its agricultural production and increasing investment in agricultural processing. >> full report (French)
- Chad: the increase in cereal production is due essentially to the extension of cultivated land area. Agricultural yields remain low and only a very small proportion of the land has been developed. >> full report (French)
- Gambia (the): the productive factors for agricultural productivity have experienced declines over the past decades making dependence on extensive traditional practices. This is the case particularly of cereals, requiring commercial imports and food aid to meet increasing consumption requirements fuelled by high population growth and urbanization.
- Guinea-Bissau: food security in Guinea Bissau is striking a very delicate balance. Rice production has not been able to meet the increasing needs of the population. In addition, there are signs of a decline in production due to the degradation of production systems and the lack of investment in the agricultural sector. However, there is great potential to improve production but consequential investments must be made in agriculture. >> full report (French)
- Mali: despite tremendous agro-pastoral potential, productive resources are not optimised and Malian agriculture is still based on an extensive system in which production is very dependent on climate variations. In addition, this situation presents a serious threat to the environment.
>> full report (French)
- Mauritania: under the best production conditions, Mauritania meets only 30% of its cereal consumption needs. To fill this gap, Mauritania resorts to imports and food aid. The marketing channels allow staple food products to be available everywhere there is demand. However, accessibility (the population’s poverty level) is still a limiting factor to this demand thus to food availability.>> full report (French)
- Niger: Niger is characterised by both chronic and circumstantial food insecurity. In addition to food insecurity in some population groups, each drought leads to severe food shortages. While current demographic growth and ways in which the soil is farmed continue over the long-term, cultivable land reserves to be used for agricultural products are quickly becoming scarce and land conditions will soon be irreversibly deteriorated. This poses a serious threat to the country’s food security if solutions are not found. >> full report (French)
- Senegal: the agricultural production situation is gloomy consequently domestic production can no longer meet the current needs and it has had to resort to imports to make up for the shortage. With this growing dependence on imports, Senegal is very vulnerable to the increase in world prices. >> full report (French)