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Ensuring the Viability of Local Food Storage Systems in West Africa and Promoting their Growth

Emergency stocks (cereal banks, village granaries, etc.) have a longstanding history in West Africa. After long being vilified in recent decades, they have suddenly returned to favour, notably following the 2008 food crisis. Regional institutions (ECOWAS, WAEMU, CILSS) and their development partners now recognise that local food storage systems have a role to play in food security and market regulation. Supporting local reserves, seen as the fist line of defence against food crises, was explicitly chosen for the ECOWAS regional storage strategy, as was building the collection, storage and marketing capacities of farmers’ organisations (FOs) with the aim of market regulation. At a time when the ECOWAS regional reserve is becoming operational, local reserves will need to become less isolated and scattered in order to envisage ways of coordinating with the other lines of defence.

Against this backdrop, SOS Faim and Oxfam took the initiative of holding a workshop in Ouagadougou from 23 to 25 February 2016 on local food storage systems in West Africa.

This workshop had two objectives:
- share, analyse and document the experiences of local food storage systems in managing their activities in order to contribute to the definition of good management practices and improve sector performance
- form advocacy and present it to national and regional policy makers, covering
those measures that take into account and support local food storage systems,
with an eye to integrating them into the regional food security and market regulation policy.

These two objectives fall under the prospect of networking local reserves in
West Africa and building dialogue with the national and regional institutions in charge of food security and market regulation.

This meeting brought together nearly 90participants representing approximately twenty West African networks of local food storage operators,1 the main national, regional and international institutions in charge of food security and market regulation in West Africa (ECOWAS / RAAF, WAEMU, CILSS / Agrhymet, national stock management institutions), these institution’s international development agency partners (EU, AECID, FAO, etc.), farmers’ umbrella organisations, NGOs, consultancy firms, research institutes, and financial institutions.

This publication is the outcome of the workdone in preparation for this workshop and the presentations and discussions during it. After a rapid overview of the
local reserve situation in West Africa, it presents a series of thematic summaries illustrated by examples covering various issues related to local reserves. The last section provides a summary of the work done during the workshop.

Click on PDF to dowload the publication

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