Key stakeholders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) convened at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Regional Network for Agricultural Policy in West Africa and the Sahel (RPCA).
The meeting brought together 230 participants in person and by videoconference to examine the provisional results of the 2023–24 agropastoral season and the food and nutrition situation in the region, including the consequences of the security and socio-political crises.
It was revealed that 44.5 million people could face acute food and nutrition insecurity during the lean season in June–August 2024, with an additional 85.6 million at risk of falling into crisis.
Held in Praia, Cabo Verde, from December 5–8, 2023, the meeting addressed the pressing need to take immediate action to save 31.7 million lives and build a future without food and nutrition crises.
With an anticipated 76.5 million metric tonnes produced, cereal production in 2023–24 was a 3% rise above the five-year average but a 1% decrease from the previous season. Production of roots and tubers rose 7% over the previous five-year average and 2% over the previous season. However, the amount of cocoa produced decreased. There were shortages in some areas, even with ideal circumstances for cattle watering and fodder supplies.
One major worry highlighted was the continuation of conditions worsening the food and nutrition crisis in the area. The impact of the Sudanese conflict, the forced relocation of over 8.3 million people, and the escalation of violence were all noted as major contributing factors. The difficulties were exacerbated by inflation, which affected staple foods at a rate of 20% on average, as well as trade restrictions, growing transportation expenses, and social unrest.
Also, alarming statistics highlighted that approximately 31.7 million people urgently require food and nutrition assistance. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger have continued to grapple with a persistent nutrition crisis affecting nearly 16.5 million children under the age of five.
The meeting, which was organised by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD), was chaired by His Excellency, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde, José Ulisses Correia e Silva.
At the closing of the meeting, the participants decided that the 40th Annual Meeting would be held from December 3–6, 2024, in Paris, and that the restricted meeting would take place from April 3–5, 2024. The host nation and main theme will be revealed at a later time.