Improve your agric productivity, experts tell ECOWAS states  

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been advised to fast-track the implementation of measures that would help boost agricultural productivity, improve the use of safety nets and the monitoring of the poverty rate in the region.

Prof Gbolagade Ayoola and Dr. Manson Nwafor, gave the counsel at the 2023 joint regional review of the agriculture sector performance in West Africa in Lagos.

This is just as they called on the government to strengthen accountability in the sector.

The experts said the results of comparative period analyses suggest a worsening socioeconomic life of the peoples of the region, which is significantly associated with the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic during 2020/2021.

According to the report presented by both, the lesson of implementation experience was that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weakness of agriculture sector mono-structure intervention model that failed to discriminate between policy instruments for food security and for agribusiness.

And that there is a need to reform the policy landscape for food security from approaching it from an agribusiness point of view to one of a fundamental human right exists.

According to the review, domestic funding during the current period of 2019-2021 shows that the “statutory expenditure in gross term for the whole region averaged USD 0.29 Billion, following an increasing trend from past periods serially averaging USD 0.24 Billion during the pre-Malabo period (2010-2014) and USD 0.27 Billion during the first post-Malabo period (2015-2018).

“In share terms of the current period from 2019-2021 the share of agriculture in total expenditure (Malabo ratio) averaged 5.1% for the whole region. This follows a serially decreasing trend from past periods averaging 7.1% during pre-Malabo period (2010-2014) down to 6.1% during the first post-Malabo period (2015-2019);

It said the main trend in poverty and food security in the region revealed that poverty level likely increased between 2015- 2018 and 2019 – 2021; negative per capita GDP growth; worsening inequality; food security equally reduced between the 2 periods.

However, child nutrition

nutrition improved while countries like Nigeria, Niger and Guinea stood out in need of attention.

On the macroeconomic environment, in the period under review (2019 – 2021) period, it was noted that the region experienced a slowdown in growth of average country GDP (8%) compared to the growth that occurred between 2010 – 2014 and 2015 – 2019 (18.5%) and that the current account balance of countries of West Africa is collectively in the negative or in deficit to the tune of -$3.6 Billion per year, with the highest magnitude of the deficit resulting in 2019.