The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission recently ended a week-long International Conference on West Africa Food Security and Storage in Accra, Ghana. Mainly virtual, the zoom conference created the platform for 15 Agricultural Ministers from nations across the sub-region to share their food security storage experiences to create solutions to an alarming gap of food shortage affecting West Africans.
The conference, which was hosted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, and supported by the G20 countries with the funds from the European Union, had its general objective as seeking to lay the foundation for a renewed multi-lateral partnership towards strengthening mechanisms which warn, prevent, intervene and provide humanitarian assistance to protect the vulnerable population from the food crisis. The French Development Agency and Spanish International Co-operation Agency for Development, among other agencies, also gave technical support for the conference.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President of Ghana, commended the organizers noted that the conference was vital in sustaining Regional peace. Hunger is a menace present among any segment of the population to the development efforts in any country. He pointed out to assurances from the conference that despite the continuous ravaging of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has exposed the vulnerability of food security and the Agricultural sector as a whole, a means of curbing and handling the pandemic’s effect will be devised.
Dr Bawumia acknowledged challenges presented by the pandemic and explained that it was the reason why the government started ambitious initiatives in the agricultural sector to help boost food production in the country, noting that the flagship of those interventions, which was the Planting for Food and Jobs, was already showing results as it paid off to promote value addition to food products and ensured food security in the country.
On his part, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, noted that scaling up the regional food security initiative would create the space to promote the food value chain and inclusive growth sub-region. He also pointed to the acknowledgement of the participants concerning contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 2, on “Zero Hunger”, and building resilience for food security in West Africa and the Sahel via a planned storage system project.