The study is carried out to support Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in exploring its future work plan with regard to the Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative. The objective of this consultancy is to inform AGRA and its partners on prioritising and better targeting its interventions in terms of geography, food commodities, and points of leverage in the market system to capitalise on latent opportunities to grow intraregional food trade. The outcomes of this assignment aim to provide the basis for a framework for prioritising work on trade, infrastructure, energy, and investment along promising economic corridors with strategic significance to food and agriculture. This project was funded by UK Aid from the UK Government. This report is one of the three regional reports under this study, covering six countries in West Africa.
The methodology relies on a meta-analysis of publicly available information, complemented with primary data collection while mapping all relevant elements of the value chains of the agriculture products in the selected countries. The selection of product focus or value chains is based on a combination of several available or constructed indexes to create a balance between demand and supply. They include the current and forecasted demand, supply, imports, exports, price volatility, etc. Overall, the methodology leads to the conclusion that Rice, Vegetables, Yams, Cassava, and Beef should be those products on which West Africa should focus in order to increase intra-regional trade and food security. Each value chain has been examined based on key consumption and production trends, key regional competitiveness drivers and challenges, regional transportation and logistics routes, stakeholder analysis and value chain challenges, based on which a set of recommendations have been made.
Recommendations have been presented in the form of an action matrix for each priority product detailing the intervention, expected outputs, targets in the value chain, priority level, impact, investment, timeline, and partners. The report found that agricultural exports are a key source of revenue and foreign exchange earnings, as well as of inputs for the manufacturing sector. The agro-food sector is the biggest direct employer of all manufacturing industries in the region. Despite the potential and vast opportunities, intra-regional trade in agriculture products remains consistently low compared with inter-continental trade. Market fragmentation, lack of infrastructure, monetary, tax, and trade fragmentation, and red tape for traders are some of the major constraints that limit the region’s trade potential. There is a need to boost intra-regional trade in agriculture to counter potential negative impacts from the international market as well as develop the domestic sector. Recommendations for the above challenges include investments in infrastructure, increase in efforts for research and development better promotion and handling of value chains, better coordination mechanisms of actors, amongst others.