We remember that in June 2018 in Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso), experts prevented from 10 million people being affected by an unprecedented food crisis in the community.
The Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) is the body of ECOWAS mandated to ensure the operationalization of this reserve accompanied by EU (European Union) up to € 56 millions, thanks to the Food Security Storage Support Project in West Africa.
If since 2013, the constitution of this reserve is not progressing as expected, RAAF is decided to give a boost to this device through a series of meetings in Lome.
From February 8 to 12, 2019, three workshops will be held, with a view to operationalizing the Regional Food Security Reserve with the support of the network of public structures in charge of the management of the national stocks of national food security in the Sahel and West Africa (called RESOGEST in french).
"We must be able to manage our food stocks. ECOWAS heads of state pledged never to see West African dying any more of hunger. Now, we must ensure that all member countries can give 5% of their reserve," said Youssouf Maiga, president of RESOGEST.
"Mali, for example, has a national stock of 35 thousand tons. So, they can give at least 5% even more of this stock for the benefit of the regional reserve," he added.
"The meeting of Lome aims to seek solutions to support ECOWAS in the implementation of its regional food security storage strategy based on complementarity, subsidiarity between three lines of defense to address the food and nutritional crises that have become structural in the region," said Salifou Ousseini, Executive Director of the RAAF.
According to him, these three lines are: local stocks, national stocks and a regional food security reserve in construction since 2013.
"These foundations reinforce our common desire to provide the region with tools that will allow us to better manage our stocks and to be solidary with each other to cope with the difficult food situations that some countries may experience," added Bali Neme, General Secretary of the Togolese ministry of agriculture.
The inventory of storage policies between member States and the content of the guide for the definition or harmonized revision of national policies; the code of good practice for the management of food security stocks and the mechanism to operationalize the commitment of member States to pool 5% of national food security stocks are three main topics that will be discussed during the three workshops.
What does RAAF exactly do?
Headquartered in Lome (Togo), RAAF is responsible for the technical execution of regional investment programs and plans contributing to the operationalization of the ECOWAS agricultural policy.
It is inaugurated in 2013 by the former Prime Minister of Togo, Artheme Selegodji Ahoomey-Zunu and aims to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the missions related to the implementation of the regional agricultural policy.
It trains community leaders on project formulation, climate change in agriculture and safety nets and offers training on food and nutrition security.
The RAAF also remains a local agency that relies on regional institutions, organizations and actors with proven expertise for a successful regional agricultural policy.
Its only specificity is that it does not directly implement the actions, but contracts with the technical institutions and actors with proven skills.