Enhancing Capacities on International Agriculture Agreements for Development of Regional Agriculture and Food Markets (ECIATA), a regional project collaboration between agriculture universities in the subregion, has pledged to support Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) member-nations to promote policies that will boost food security.
The main objective of the project is to strengthen the academic capacities of partner institutions on international trade agreements, which would enable them to enhance the institutional capacities of government ministries, agencies, regional bodies, farmers organisations, civil society and other relevant bodies on trade-related agriculture negotiations, agreements and policy implementation in support of regional agriculture and development of food markets.
The universities include the College of Agriculture Education of the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana; University of Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia; Njala University, Sierra Leone, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, and University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
According to ECIATA, West Africa region has major potential in terms of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, but was facing food security problems because of challenges occasioned by differing climate conditions, sub-regional disparities and local production deficits, a lack of market fluidity and little competition within production sectors.
The group noted that the link between food security and the availability of foodstuffs requires that different sectorial policies have to work together to enhance the competitiveness of the agriculture sector and develop the regional food markets. Stepping up food security requires improving the competitiveness of the sector to improve production.