April 4, 2017
Agriculture officials and experts from five English-speaking member countries of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) were in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, for a five-day training session in the formulation of agricultural investment projects.
The training was organized by the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) of ECOWAS, with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through the project ” Capacity Building for ECOWAP Implementation”, which is funded by the Spanish Cooperation.
The event took place from Monday, 27 March to Friday, 31 March, 2017 at the Golden Tulip-Bintumani Hotel in Aberdeen, Freetown. It brought together ten experts from the ministries of Agriculture of the Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana, six staff from the FAO country offices, two officers from the Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development of ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, and two staff from RAAF.
In his official opening remarks on behalf of the Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, the National Programme Coordinator in the Strategic Advisory Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Khalil Jah, noted that the regional training fully and timely falls within the approach and the perspective of the region that is to mobilize enough resources for the implementation of the ECOWAP 2025 at both regional and country level.
Mr Jah reminded participants that the development of the second generation of the National Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Investment Plan (NAIP FSN) is in progress and shall be completed by June 2017 and ready for validation in all ECOWAS Member States. “For their implementation, resource mobilization is key. That is why this regional training is very important for achieving the objectives we set to ourselves in the framework of ECOWAP 2025,” he added.
The FAO Representative to Sierra Leone, Nyabenyi Tipo stated that FAO leads actions at both national and regional levels to build the capacity of all key actors involved in the improvement of food and nutrition security in West Africa.
“I am convinced that agricultural investment projects resulting from the National Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Investment Plan (NAIP FSN) will be the main tool for resource mobilization and for concrete outcomes for the ECOWAS population”, she maintained.
She pledged that FAO will continue to work for accelerating their formulation and improving quality for every country to meet the Malabo declaration targets streamlined in ECOWAP 2025 strategic framework.
The Head of the Technical Unit for the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF), Dr Ablasse Bilgo representing the Executive Director of RAAF, explained that, this training will increase the capacity of the ECOWAS member states for the formulation of investment projects to mobilize funds for the second generation of ECOWAP.
“Since 2015, RAAF has contributed to capacity building of the ministries in charge of agriculture in the 15 countries of ECOWAS. So far, over 450 persons have been trained on climate smart agriculture project formulation, and 300 persons on social safety nets”, he added.
The training was conducted on theoretical and practical approaches on the costing of agricultural investment projects with a Focus on COSTAB 32 Software developed by the Asian Development Bank.
Similar training sessions have already been delivered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for the representatives of the ECOWAS French speaking member countries, and the final one will be held in Niamey, Niger early April 2017 for the experts from regional organizations and stakeholders involved in the implementation of ECOWAP 2025.