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Food sovereignty brief n°18 - What Is the Secret of High-Performing West African Agricultural Value Chains?

It is customary to decry the poor performance of agricultural production in West Africa. It is readily admitted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is the region with the highest production growth in Africa. But yields are not up to scratch. The growth in production is said to be due mainly to an increase in the amount of land under cultivation, and linked to population growth rather than increased productivity. As a reminder, the ECOWAS population has increased by nearly 50% since 2000, going from nearly 230 to 345 million people. Yet, despite this general observation, the production of certain products has doubled in ten years—something we cannot account for by only the arrival of new farmers in the production sector or the expansion of cultivated land. Indeed, political and economic factors, technological advances and the international context combine together to explain the agricultural performances that are sometimes surprising for certain products and certain zones in the region. Ten years after the West African regional agricultural policy (ECOWAP) was adopted, this brief looks at the booms in four of these value chains and seeks to identify the main reasons for them.

Click here to download the brief (8 pages).
Click here to read this article in French.

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