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IFAD and the EU have successfully completed the US$26.6 million Food Facility (EUFF) programme in West Africa

GroundnutsProducer cooperatives helped to refill the seed stocks of groundnuts in Senegal. (Image Source: Sengai Podhuvan)

The programme ran over a period of eighteen months, covering the West African countries of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Senegal.

“Together with our partners, the Economic Community of West African States and the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, we have improved the access to high quality seeds for smallholder farmers in the region and have trained them in production and farming techniques,” Adriane Del Torto, the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD’s) project coordinator for the EUFF in West Africa, said at a workshop held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. “This has supported more than 200,000 rural families to achieve higher yields, increase their income and improve their living conditions.”

The US$1.3 billion EUFF was created as a response to soaring food prices between 2007-2008, to fund projects that would improve access to agricultural inputs and services, increase agricultural productive capacity and address the basic food needs in the West African states.

“With the Food Facility, we have not only provided immediate relief but have sustainably contributed to improve the food security situation in West Africa,” said Didier Nils, Representative of the European Union (EU) in Côte d’Ivoire. “By building the capacity of farmer organisations and seed producers and by introducing improved production techniques and seed varieties, we have ensured that the impact of our joint work does not end with the closing of the programme but continues in the long term.”

Building on existing IFAD-supported projects and considering national food security strategies, the funds provided by the EU for the West Africa programme, were, for example, utilised to introduce ‘minisett technology’ in Ghana. This technology enables smallholders to produce yam seeds with less input and higher yields than traditional methods.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the implementing partners established a process to produce certified rice and maize seeds to ensure use of quality seeds.

In Mali and Senegal, the establishment of producer cooperatives helped to refill the seed stocks of rice in Mali and groundnuts in Senegal, meeting the increasing demand for quality seeds.

Research and biotechnology institutes were involved in the programme and helped improve the quality and variety of seeds in Benin.