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Sustainable agriculture as a means of increasing resilience

The vision of West-African farmers

In 2012, for the fourth time in ten years (after the major food crises in 2005, 2008 and 2010), a significant food shortage triggered by severe drought struck 18 million people in 9 countries of the Sahel region, in West Africa (Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, North Cameroon and Nigeria).

The continuous food insecurity in the region is a manifestation of extreme rural and urban poverty and a lack of food production across the region, mainly due to rapid population growth in an environment which combines the depletion and poor governance of natural resources with insufficient access to capital, inputs and training. The severe food and nutrition crisis in 2012 was exacerbated by the impact of conflicts that erupted in Libya, Ivory Coast and, more recently, in Mali, as well as a decrease in money transfers from migrants working abroad.

The Resilience Initiative is an opportunity to accelerate the coordinated implementation of a series of tools essential to sustainable food and nutrition security in West Africa.

The Global Alliance for Resiliance Initiative (AGIR), supported by the EU, was officially launched in Ouagadougou on 6 December 2012. The Alliance aims to address chronic food insecurity in the region by creating synergies between emergency actions and long-term development strategies.

On 13 June 2013, a roundtable on sustainable agriculture as a means of increasing resilience will be held in Brussels. The roundtable discussion is based on existing initiatives coordinated by ECOWAS, UEMOA and the technical branch of CILSS.Objectives include exploring ways to promote sustainable intensification for agricultural production in West Africa; contributing to the implementation of policies promoting greater resilience for vulnerable populations; and giving voice to West African farmer organisations to present their vision for agricultural development in the region.

Participants in the round table are drawn from the European Commission, EU Member States, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, CTA, SOS Faim and its European partners, West African Farmers' organisation national platforms, ROPPA, UEMOA, ECOWAS, CILSS and OECD.