Food insecurity in West Africa demands a climate-smart response to multiple crises – World

As crises multiply and the devastating conflict in Ukraine drags on, its global effects are being felt hard in the Sahel and West Africa, a region where more than 38 million people face acute food insecurity. . The impacts of the war are likely to plunge an additional 7 to 10 million people in the region into food insecurity.

This story was originally posted by France 24

Faced with the crisis, the World Bank is deploying short- and long-term responses to strengthen food and nutrition security, reduce risks and strengthen food systems.

These actions are part of the institution’s global response to the current food security crisis, with up to $30 billion in existing and new projects in areas spanning agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation. This funding will include efforts to encourage food and fertilizer production, improve food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.

The price spike

The shock waves of conflict are expected to have complex and lasting impacts for the world. World prices are expected to remain at historically high levels through the end of 2024, and the war is changing trade and production patterns in ways that will worsen food insecurity and inflation. The tremors come after two years of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing a blow to an already fragile global food system struggling with climate extremes.

Markets in the Sahel and West and Central Africa are experiencing a sharp rise in prices for oil, rice, wheat and other commodities on the international market, and the poorest households are spending disproportionate more for food than the wealthiest. The price of wheat, a staple for many households, was 60% higher in early June 2022 compared to January 2021, according to World Bank data.

The price of fertilizers, essential for productive agriculture, has also jumped since the war and is now almost three times higher than a year ago. The ripple effect is expected to reduce food production over the next few years as soaring prices force many farmers to use less fertilizer.

Addressing Root Causes

The World Bank is mobilizing support for emergency responses in the Sahel and West Africa to help countries at risk of food insecurity respond more quickly. It also works with its humanitarian partners to monitor regional food insecurity and develop food security preparedness plans.

The challenge of strengthening food and nutrition security in the region also requires long-term responses. And, as many of the root causes – and consequences – of food insecurity challenge national boundaries, regional approaches are being taken to build resilience in food systems in West and Central African countries.

The $716 million Food System Resilience Program (FSRP) is one such approach. It aims to benefit more than four million people in West Africa by increasing agricultural productivity through climate-smart agriculture, promoting intra-regional value chains and building regional capacity for agricultural risk management.

The Great Green Wall

As food systems in the Sahel and West Africa face exceptional stress, there is also a growing demand for more climate-smart investments to support countries where communities are facing the worsened effects of climate change. climate change, conflict and unprecedented environmental degradation.

The African-led Great Green Wall is a major regional initiative that promises such climate-smart solutions to transform both economies and ecosystems in the region. By 2030, it aims to restore some 100 million hectares of degraded land and create 10 million jobs in rural areas, supporting people’s ability to respond and adapt to climate risks. The World Bank has pledged to invest $5.6 billion between 2020 and 2025 in 11 participating countries. Over 60 projects focus on transforming livelihoods in the Great Green Wall through landscape restoration, improved food systems and access to climate-resilient infrastructure.

Tangible results

“Before, I used chemical fertilizers every year and I could consume 20 or 30 bags,” explains Nama Boureima, a farmer in Sapouy, Burkina Faso, one of hundreds to benefit from biodigesters installed in the country.

By adding a mixture of cow manure and water to biodigesters, farmers can generate renewable biogas for cooking and organic fertilizer for their fields. This reduces CO2 emissions by capturing methane emitted from manure, while reducing pressure on forest resources previously used as domestic fuel.

“Now I don’t worry about the fertilizer problem anymore,” says Boureima.

His farm illustrates some of the sweeping changes taking place under the Great Green Wall. Some 270,000 hectares of land have been put under sustainable management in Burkina Faso; over 2,500 micro-projects have been funded; 1.5 million people have seen their monetary benefits from forest products increased; and 10 million tonnes of CO2 have been reduced or avoided.

About 12.5 million people have benefited from the US$900 million Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Project (NEWMAP) which has strengthened the country’s capacity to combat erosion, natural hazards and disasters , while creating 20,000 direct jobs and 32,000 indirect jobs through sovereign green bonds – a first for Africa.

In Niger, additional yields of up to 58% have been achieved by agro-sylvo-pastoral communities through training on climate-smart strategies.

Green future

As global food security challenges increase, harnessing the potential of these ambitious, climate-smart investments is seen as key to making the region’s economy more resilient, achieving inclusive growth and tackling insecurity. eating.

“When these elements come together, not only does it transform the economy, but jobs are also created. This allows young Africans to stay in Africa and live from their work while being in Africa,” says Diagana of the World Bank.

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