COMMUNIQUE:2-DAY DIALOGUE SESSION ON INTRA ECOWAS TRADE AND VALUE CHAIN FOR AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS HELD IN, ACCRA, GHANA


  • Wednesday March 21, 2018 14:00 PM
  • NILS Press Corps
PREAMBLE
A 2 Day dialogue session on Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Value Chain for Agricultural Exports was organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) of the National Assembly of Nigeria with financial support from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) in conjunction with the ECOWAS Parliament, to engage the sub-regional stakeholders and parliamentarians in coming up with actionable points for the development of the agricultural sector in the region with the aim of increasing agricultural production, providing food security, improving intra-ECOWAS Trade and boosting export. The delivery format of the workshop included eight (8) lead presentations followed by exhaustive discussions by the participants.

1. Overview of Trade Policies and Intra ECOWAS Trade – Mr Kolawale Sofola , Principal Programme Officer, Multilateral Trade, ECOWAS Commission.

2. Implementation Strategies for Expansion of Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Trade in the Global Market, by Dr. Vivian Iwar Head, Animal Resources Development Division, and Mr. Kolawale Sofola, Principal Programme Officer, Multilateral Trade, ECOWAS Commission.

3. Broad Based Economic Growth and Cashew Production in West Africa: An Insight into Cote d’ Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau presented by Hon. Mamadou SANGOFOWA COULIBALY, Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development Côte d’Ivoire.

4. Broad Based Economic Growth and Cashew Production in West Africa: An Insight into Guinea Bissau presented by Hon. Nicolau DOS SANTOS, Minister for Agriculture Forest and Fisheries, Guinea Bissau.

5. Cocoa Supply Chain and Policies of West Africa in the Global Market by Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ghana.

6. Tools for Effective Oversight over Intra Trade and Agricultural Programmes in ECOWAS, presented by Hon (Sir) Dennis Nnamdi Agbo (FCA), Committee on Agricultural Institutions and Colleges, House of Representatives, Nigeria.

7. Enhancing Trade through Development of Agricultural Products’ Value Chain: Exploratory Accounts of PASGR’s Nigeria Rice and Cotton/Textile Value Chain Project, by Dr. Eric Ogunleye, Consultant from Nigeria.

8. Enhancing the Value Chain of Agricultural Exports in West Africa: Moving towards ECOWAS Vision 2020, presented by Ms. Omotere Omoluabi-Davies, Regional Integration Coordinator, African Development Bank, Nigeria.
Following the discussions and interactions the following recommendations were made.

OBSERVATIONS/LESSONS LEARNT

1. Failure of countries within the sub-region to adhere to the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture to allocate at least 10% of the national budget to agricultural development.

2. Lack of capacity of rural farmers to increase production and yield due to inability to appropriately apply fertiliser or even have the basic understanding of agricultural production for export.

3. Lack of opportunities for regular engagement among member nations to ensure that objectives set forth by the ECOWAS Commission are followed through.

4. Failure of countries to adopt and implement policies that promote and guarantee increase in agricultural products.

5. The Dialogue noted a remarkable improvement and increase in agricultural production across the sub-region, in particular the gradual reversal of rice imports in Nigeria and the scaling up of cashew output in Côte d’Ivoire.

6. Absence of the necessary will power by politicians to discourage the importation of rice into countries that already have the capacity to produce enough rice for local consumption.

7. The Dialogue noted that the production system that organises small holder out growers with guaranteed off take of output at fair price, by a capable lead farm or Industry, has been very successful in driving up output volumes, standardisation and processing

8. The need for countries like Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, to collaborate in price determination for raw cocoa beans and also in establishing a Cocoa processing facility so as to harness the full potential of the cocoa produced in these countries.

RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Adopt the production of specific agricultural products with potential to reduce poverty and provide employment for our farmers. The development of cocoyam and other root crops, grains and cereals will supplement the importation of key staple foods like rice.
2. Encourage the production of cash crops like Cashew nuts, Cocoa and Groundnuts, and strengthen the value chain of these products to earn foreign exchange.
3. Adopt a 5 year policy aimed at increasing output and processing of cashew nuts by encouraging collaboration between member countries to attract private investment.
4. Member States should be encouraged to invest in irrigated farming to create more farming cycles and boost output.
5. Member States also need to invest more in providing infrastructure aimed at supporting agricultural produce particularly rice, as well as the operating environment to enhance the ease of doing business.
6. There is the need for ECOWAS Member States to deliberately invest in research, process improvements, biotechnology and modernisation of agricultural practice so as to optimise yield, competitiveness and return on investment.
7. ECOWAS region should work to implement the soft infrastructure so as to give practical effect to the various protocols on intra-trade by eliminating all trade barriers on land movement and multiple checks and delays within the sub region.
8. Member nations are encouraged to specialise in the massive production of agricultural produce in which they have comparative economic advantage so as to boost output, standardization and intra-trade.
9. A call for action to translate the ideals of the Dialogue to concrete outcomes.

VOTE OF THANKS
Finally, the conference is grateful to the Dialogue organizers, the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), the fund providers, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the Nigerian National Assembly, resource persons and presenters, for a very successful dialogue session. We are also very grateful to the Government of Ghana, the Parliament and the good people of Ghana for their warm reception and wonderful hospitality.


Done this day, 20th March 2018 in Accra, Ghana

Signed

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Hon. (SIR) Dennis Nnamdi AGBO Hon. Henriette ZOUMBARE/ZONGO
National Assembly, Nigeria National Assembly, Burkina Faso
Communiqué Committee Chairman Communiqué Committee Secretary


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Hon. Carlos Alberto DELGADO
ECOWAS Parliament
Communiqué Committee Member