Members of EOA-I in West Africa the Regional Steering Committee of @ECOWAS headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria

The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in West Africa meeting took place between 3rd and 4th May 2018 at the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria to inaugurate its Steering Committee. The meeting was chaired by Mr Sékou Sangaré, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources ably represented by Mr Ernest Aubee the Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee of EOA-I in West Africa. The meeting had in attendance fourteen (14) participants from Benin, Mali, Senegal and Nigeria. Different issues relating to EOA-I activities in the region and in Africa were discussed.

Mr Ernest Aubee on behalf of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources welcomed everyone present and discussed about the need for a vibrant Ecological Organic Agriculture which will enhance food security for feeding more than three hundred and fifty million people of the region and to tackle environmental challenges, which are causing a lot of issues. He informed the meeting that the ECOWAS Commission just lunched a project on agro-ecological agriculture in West Africa funded by French Government to the tune of eight millions Euros. He noted that the project is designed to promote agro-ecological practices in West African region. “This project is designed to promote agro-ecological agriculture in the region by implementing it in five pilot countries; Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Ghana and Mali in the bid to spread it to the entire ECOWAS region.  Mr Ernest Aubee added that the project will work on capacity building, technologies and raise awareness. He believes it will support other similar projects in West Africa. The ECOWAS Commission will also work closely with regional and continental clusters in ensuring that EOA becomes widespread. He also encouraged the member states to ensure that Organic Agriculture is implemented in their countries as a matter of priority. He ended his message by wishing the Regional Steering Committee fruitful deliberations.

At the end of the two-day meeting, some salient issues were addressed and fruitful resolutions were made. The Regional Steering Committee of eight (8) members was set up and formalized, they are; Mr Ernest Aubee, the Chairman, Prof Simplice D. Vodouhe, the Vice-Chairman, Dr. Olugbenga O. AdeOluwa, the Secretary while Mr. Ernest Pedro Comlan, Mr Seydou Tangara, Sir Mike Elechi, Dr. Emile V. Coly and Dr. Abdulai Jalloh as  members. The Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative in West Africa considered activities in the four (4) implementing countries through their CLOs. An overview of EOA activities in West Africa and Africa was also presented. The Committee paid an advocacy/courtesy visit to the Hon. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Chairman presented ECOWAS perspective on how to expand EOA-I. The Committee considered the 2018 work-plan and the roll-over activities of 2014-2016 and 2017.