A new Regional Integrated Initiative in West and Central Africa entitled ‘Transforming Agrifood Systems in West and Central Africa’(TAFS-WCA) that focuses on nutritious, safe, climate-adapted and market-driven food systems is being unveiled at the Stakeholders Engagement and Launch Workshop in West Africa.
The TAFS-WCA is an initiative of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources.
Although agriculture contributes 30-50% to GDP in WCA and provides income and livelihoods to 70-80% of the population, the sector has not been able to live up to its huge potential to feed the growing population due to climate change effects, among others. The sub-region’s food needs are met to a large extent by relying on food imports.
To address these challenges, the new initiative seeks to respond to WCA’s food and nutritional concerns in an integrated way and achieve agricultural, social and environmental goals at scale. It will support climate-smart agriculture and enhance livelihoods of farmers and agricultural value chain actors, especially youth and women, in six countries in WCA: Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda.
The expected outcomes include, among others, access of at least 80,000 smallholder households in WCA to climate-resilient, nutritious crop varieties. At least 30% increase in household dietary diversity scores will be attained.
“Access to quality seed and climate-smart good agricultural practices (GAP) and reduced postharvest losses will have a positive impact on food, nutrition and health security in WCA,” said Dr Aminou Arouna, Leader of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) Policy, Innovation Systems and Impact Assessment Program, who is leading this initiative.
The workshop will provide opportunities for the participants to have a better understanding of expected deliverables and potential benefits of the initiative as well as the roles and responsibilities of the partners. It will prioritize innovations that best meet the demands in the sub-region, develop a collaborative roadmap for 2022 and beyond, seek broader stakeholder engagement and review cross-cutting issues, such as gender and social inclusion, capacity strengthening and learning that underpin the initiative.
According to Dr Regina Kapinga, the initiative Co-Lead and Head of Advocacy and Resource Mobilization at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), youth and women will be empowered through a gender transformative approach and de-risking of agriculture production, reducing existing gender gaps and increasing business opportunities.
The Initiative includes five major components:
- Sustainable intensification and diversification for nutritious and resilient food production through sustainable seed and management systems
- Informed digital agriculture for climate resilience —managing climate risks and accessing services
- Inclusive landscape management — pathways for scaling land and water innovations for resilient agrifood systems
- Youth and women entrepreneurship models in food value chains
- Technology, innovation, communication, knowledge and stakeholder management for accelerating impact investments and catalyzing impact at scale.