Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
In 2005, the African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture reported in its food security study that most member countries of the Economic Community of African States (ECCAS) had the highest levels of food insecurity.
In 2006, the African Ministers of Agriculture in Bamako, Mali and the AU Summit in Banjul, Gambia, called on NEPAD, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and other development partners to assist in mobilising the necessary resources to implement interventions to reduce food insecurity in ECCAS.
The 2006 Abuja Food Security Summit again called on development partners to assist in promoting value chain production of AU strategic commodities.
In responding to these AU requests, NEPAD, ECCAS, IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development) and FAO agreed to work together in promoting value chain cassava and rice production in ECCAS.
Following an agreement between NEPAD and IFAD in August 2007 to launch this initiative, a joint NEPAD-IFAD-FAO mission was undertaken to the ECCAS Secretariat in Libreville, Gabon from 21-23 November 2007.
The main purpose of the mission was to discuss with ECCAS the implementation of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) initiatives, focusing on two strategic commodities (cassava and NERICA – New Rice for Africa) identified during the Abuja declaration on food security in Africa.
The specific objectives of the preparatory mission were to :
Brief ECCAS senior management on the proposed intervention to promote cassava and NERICA production in ECCAS member countries based on the full value chain model.
Review the status of existing national and regional food security projects in ECCAS and the implications for the proposed interventions.
Agree on the entry points for this project.
Review the tentative roadmap and timeframe for preparation of the project(s).
Value chain model points the way The meeting agreed that the sustainable way to increase cassava and rice production in ECCAS is through the value chain model successfully implemented in several African countries through input by IFAD.
The value chain model works well in countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) with appropriate policy that favours local production, processing and trade.
The meeting therefore encouraged ECCAS to quickly draw on FAO Regional Office support to accelerate the development of a common ECCAS agriculture policy. More importantly, stakeholders should be fully engaged in the development and adoption of ECCAS common agriculture policy.
The meeting encouraged ECCAS to ask IFAD for financial support to facilitate stakeholder participation, (e.g. farmer groups), in consultations and adoption of the policy through the various ECCAS structures.
The meeting reaffirmed that the project should be initiated or scaled up in a phased approach based on criteria discussed but still to be agreed and adopted by ECCAS.
For example countries that already have some ongoing projects may be targeted in phase 1. In countries where there are on-going IFAD projects or projects are about to start, ECCAS should request these countries to submit progress reports on rice and cassava to facilitate tracking of emerging impacts.
In countries where the project preparation process is about to begin, ECCAS, NEPAD and FAO should work with IFAD to integrate ECCAS-NEPAD-AU values and targets in the projects.
In countries where IFAD project consultations have not yet started, ECCAS, NEPAD, IFAD and FAO should facilitate convening stakeholder meetings to encourage them to prioritise value chain production of cassava and rice. These consultations should serve as the basis for project preparation.
In countries still experiencing instabilities and war, the meeting agreed that there is inadequate data and information on the prevailing food insecurity. Therefore, ECCAS was requested to facilitate a review of the appropriate short-term interventions that could be implemented, including a home grown school feeding programme, food fortification, food aid, etc.
Target timeframe for action in 2008 The meeting also encouraged ECCAS to request technical assistance from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and FAO to prepare a concept note and arrange a donor meeting to mobilise the resources to implement the recommended activities.
Both FAO and NEPAD should continue to be involved in this initiative through provision of technical assistance, experience sharing, and support in resource mobilisation.
According to the timeframe discussed for this initiative to kick off and take root, the ECCAS common agriculture policy framework should be ready by mid-2008 and projects would start by the last quarter of 2008 for the identified countries.
With this robust initiative in place, it is hoped that ECCAS would move closer towards eliminating food insecurity and malnutrition to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.Source : NEPAD, 7 decembre 2007