The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Research Program on Priority Agricultural Sectors (PreFAP) has improved the productivity and competitiveness of five strategic agricultural sectors for food security in the eight member countries of this regional Customs Union, says a report of the institution published Wednesday.By Abdourahmane Diallo
Thanks to PreFAP, “West African cotton, maize, livestock, aquaculture and poultry sectors are more competitive and provide smallholder farmers with higher incomes than a few years ago,” the report notes.
Funded to the tune of CFAF 1.5 billion, PreFAP was implemented by the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) over a period of five years (2014-2019).
It has enabled some “8,546 households, 23 percent of which are women, to improve their situation through the adoption of proven innovations disseminated by CORAF and national partners of research institutes.”
The project also made it possible to set up “15 innovation platforms” in the eight countries of the monetary zone.
These virtual spaces are “places of informal exchange, learning, sharing and adoption of technologies, innovations and best agricultural practices between the main actors in the food chain of a given community.”
The reports adds: “Most of the technologies generated throughout the project were disseminated there”.
In addition to improving incomes, the project has helped strengthen social ties between previously antagonistic tribes, it says, adding that 25 students, 36 percent of whom were women, also obtained Master’s and Doctoral degrees thanks to PreFAP.
PreFAP is structured around three main components, aimed at improving access to financing for actors in the marketing link in the maize sector (AMAFINE); the valuation of cotton stalks in particle board (VATICOPP) and the valuation of animal genetic resources and local aquaculture (PROGEVAL).
The first program was implemented in Benin, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
Benin, Mali and Togo have benefited from the VATICOPP Project.
Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Senegal executed the PROGEVAL Project.
All the eight UEMOA countries have benefited from this project, which aims to contribute to the implementation of the Union’s Agricultural Policy (PAU).
“This investment has considerably strengthened the resilience and livelihoods of beneficiaries in the UEMOA Community,” said CORAF Executive Director, Dr Abdou Tenkouano.
“For us, these results significantly meet the expectations we had when we signed this agreement with CORAF, in 2014, in collaboration with all the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) of the member states of our Union,” the President of the UEMOA Commission, Abdallah Boureima acknowledged.