15 FAO Country Representatives Meet Over Malnutrition, Hunger

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Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representatives from the 15 Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) nations converged at a regional meeting in Accra to deliberate on new approaches to reducing hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria and other member countries.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, at the closing of a two-day West African Multidisciplinary Team meeting, said partnership is vital but collaborating with strong and committed partners would help realize the vision.

“Cooperation with strong partners is what can make us move forward and achieve tangible results,” Tijani said.

In a statement issued, Monday in Abuja by FAO National Communication Officer, David Tsokar, aside from the 15 representatives in ECOWAS countries, other partners such as resilience focal points, technical experts, UN agencies as well as farmers’ organizations discussed emerging challenges the region faced to achieve sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition.

“I note with satisfaction that three pillars come out as key recommendations: policy support to countries; value chain development and production to enhance rural employment; and capacity development for farmers, in particular through the Farmer Field School platform”, Tijani added.

Director in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development at the ECOWAS Commission, Alain Sy Traoré, in his remarks, said the dialogue on best approaches in agriculture confirmed “the need to strengthen cooperation with FAO and develop together top priorities in the near future”.

According to him, FAO provides technical assistance to the ECOWAS and its 15 member states in the region, enabling the implementation and assessment of the first generation of the ECOWAS regional Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP) as well as Regional Agricultural Investment Plans (RAIPs) and National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs).

The two-day deliberations, led by Serge Nakouzi, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, came out with recommendations that will shape joint actions in the short, medium and long term. “Substantive contributions will feed pertinent development and partnership initiatives in order to advance FAO work in West Africa, both at the national and regional levels”, he noted.

The FAO sub-regional multidisciplinary team meeting for West Africa is an annual event to deliberate on the salient issues facing the Member States of the sub-region in their quest to develop and sustainably manage their respective agriculture and rural sectors with the aim of embedding food and nutrition security for all in their respective nations.

Among concrete actions towards strengthening regional initiatives on ending hunger and malnutrition in West Africa are a review of the Right to Food situation in West Africa; an analysis of the hunger and malnutrition trends over the last 20 years; the formulation of a strategic framework and road map for achieving zero hunger and malnutrition in West Africa by 2025; and a strengthened institutional capacity of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF).