UNDP and ECOWAS launch initiative to boost food production, job and income opportunities in agriculture value chains in West Africa.

DAKAR, S?n?gal, August 29, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ ? The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) have launched a new initiative to boost food production, job and income opportunities for farmers including smallholders and SMEs through advancing agriculture value chains in West Africa.

UNDP?s African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM) and the ECOWAS Commission this week convene multiple stakeholders representing governments, UN agencies, private sector, farmers, financiers and civil society from 13 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) for a West Africa Project Facilitation Platform (PFP).

The West Africa platform is discussing partnerships and value addition of the various stakeholders in strategic agri-food value chains, especially cassava, onions and mango.

?A new private sector is emerging in Africa with great potential for creating new jobs, generating higher incomes and delivering products and services for all. Agriculture value chains and agribusiness are critical to advance food security and economic opportunities? stated Tomas Sales, AFIM Manager.

?Developing and operating efficient and effective value chains is critical for SMEs to achieve competitiveness in regional and global markets. Towards this goal, the ECOWAS commission is fully committed to the partnership with UNDP for the implementation for the West Africa platform. This initiative engages the private sector and other key stakeholders to strengthen selected value chains and increasing food production and security? expressed Alfred Braimah, ECOWAS Director Private Sector.

The ECOWAS Commission through the EXPECT Initiative for Export Promotion & Enterprise Competitiveness for Trade works with private and public sectors to collaborate and mobilize the required resources for improving the capacity of SME and small actors involved in priority export value chains.

?UNDP?s African Facility for Inclusive Markets is brokering partnerships and building capacity to develop inclusive markets that contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially toward food security and inclusive economic growth. The level of participation for this West Africa platform is very encouraging, and we are looking forward to the implementation of the innovative and transformative solutions discussed,? said Tomas Sales, UNDP AFIM Manager.

SOURCE?

United Nations Development Programme (PNUD)

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