This food price inflation affects the purchasing power of households, accentuating hunger and malnutrition in the community space.
In addition to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the security crisis and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on grain availability, it must be recognized that the current food crisis has its roots in the decline in regional agricultural production in recent years.
This situation makes households vulnerable and exposes young people to all sorts of vices. It is in this difficult environment that the activities of the 2022-2023 agricultural campaign are carried out in the Sahelian and West African region.
The agro-hydro-climatic seasonal forecasts for the 2022-2023 campaign published at the start of the campaign indicated an overall excess to normal rainfall over all the Sudanian and Sahelian zones, West Africa and Chad with an early start to the rains. relatively short to normal dry spells and a late to normal end of the season.
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To carry out a mid-term evaluation of the progress of the agro-sylvo-pastoral season with a view to identifying agricultural and food prospects for the 2022-2023 consumption year, the Permanent Inter-State Committee for the Fight against Drought in the Sahel opened Wednesday in Lomé a technical meeting of the Regional Mechanism for Prevention and Management of Crises (PREGEC).
This 3-day meeting saw the participation of national systems for monitoring and early warning of food and nutritional security, at the national, regional and international levels, to together establish the mid-term situation of the progress of the agro-pastoral campaign in each country.
During the work, it will be a question of identifying the most probable production scenarios expected in 2022-2023 and then formulating relevant recommendations with a view to taking the necessary measures by the end of the year.
At the balance sheet exercise
The Lomé consultation also makes it possible to discuss the schedule for assessing harvests and analyzing vulnerability to food and nutritional insecurity with the harmonized framework tool in the 17 countries.
Already, it should be remembered that the 2022-2023 agro-pastoral campaign, despite the good prospects, has been faced with the crisis in the availability and price of fertilizers as well as the general increase in foodstuffs limiting adequate access to food for the poorest aggravating the complex food and nutrition crisis, affecting 38.3 million people during the lean season (June to August 2022).
“We are all waiting for a good 2022-2023 agricultural campaign to allow vulnerable populations to get out of this difficult situation throughout this year of food consumption”, hopes Abdoulaye Mohamadou, executive secretary of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control. in the Sahel (CILSS)
He adds that the sub-region is coming out of a very difficult agricultural year due to the rainfall deficit of last year, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which caused not only the prices of cereals to soar but also of fertilizers.
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This current campaign started with a lot of uncertainty but fortunately so far, the campaign is looking good.
The Lomé meeting essentially aims to take stock of the agricultural and pastoral situation but also the flow of basins in the region to anticipate future phenomena.
“Concretely, it is to say where do we expect good harvests, on which side we risk having deficits in order to allow the States to anticipate within the framework of their response plan to take appropriate measures. The main role of CILSS is prevention and in this context we have a regional crisis prevention and management system which monitors the agricultural situation in the region throughout the year. is to provide information to the leaders of the countries to take measures and anticipate possible crises”, confides the executive secretary of CILSS to agridigitale.net.
Increase agricultural production
On the markets of the region, the prices of foodstuffs are experiencing an atypical rise. This unusual increase is mainly due to a combination of factors such as the poor cereal production for the 2021-2022 season in the Sahelian countries, the persistence of civil insecurity, the effects of the embargo on Mali and the various measures prohibition or restriction of grain exports taken by certain countries.
Faced with these various threats to food security, one of the recommendations is to strengthen the information watch on the current agro-pastoral campaign.
Thus, the Regional Mechanism for Crisis Prevention and Management holds this consultation to examine the agricultural and food situation, assess the impacts, alert and promote decision-making in the context of the prevention and management of food and nutritional crises in the region. Sahel region and West Africa.
“The challenges to be met for the consolidation of food security in the Sahel and in West Africa are immense. To achieve an improvement in the food and nutritional situation of our region over the next decade, it is more imperative to increase agricultural production by acting on productivity, to improve policies, regulations and agricultural and commercial standards”, notes for his part, Dindiogue Kolani, director of cabinet at the Togolese Ministry of Agriculture.
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According to him, it is important to continue at the community level the efforts in the direction of increasing the competitiveness of agricultural enterprises and widening the availability of agricultural technologies, including varieties of improved seeds.
Work is continuing with stakeholders to take stock of the progress of the current agricultural campaign in each of the countries, identifying areas at risk of low agricultural productivity.
It will above all be a question of identifying quantitative trends in a qualitative way on the prospects for harvests and fodder production of the agropastoral campaign and taking stock of the evolution of markets at national, regional and international levels and their impacts on access. household food.