Strengthening Regional Agricultural Integration (Phase 2)

Strengthening Regional Agricultural Integration (Phase 2)

Goals and activities

The goal of SRAI 2 is to provide specific, targeted empirical information to policy stakeholders in West Africa.  This information will support the debate about how agriculture and agribusinesses can respond to the region’s rapidly growing and changing demand and ensure broad-based benefits to farmers, agribusinesses, and consumers. Policy stakeholders include local, national, and regional officials; farmer organization leaders; private sector actors, civil society, and development partners. 
The aim is to promote efficient, equitable growth in the agri-food system that allows West Africa to address the challenges outlined above.  SRAI 2 will do this by building on and making more known to policy makers the research results of SRAI 1, drawing on empirical findings of other researchers working on these questions, and by carrying out targeted research and outreach to fill remaining critical knowledge gaps. 
The focus will be on 4 areas:

1. Understanding the changing structure of food demand in West Africa, its likely future evolution and the implications of these changes for development of agroprocessing;
2. Analyzing the likely future evolution of the Asian rice market and its implications for West Africa;
3. Analyzing alternative models of value chain organization that link smallholders to markets in ways that capture scale economies, quality and timeliness. 
4. Drawing implications of all the foregoing for national and regional policies regarding regional and international trade and investment.

The project will encompass two principal efforts:

  • Research and capacity development focused on identification of factors that will help to connect more effectively regional supply and demand for food, with special attention given to the off-farm-elements of key value chain, including processing.  The project will focus particularly on value chains that (a) have strong growth and employment-generation potential and (b) are important contributors to food security.
  • Outreach and policy dialogue aimed at supporting regional initiatives for food security and agricultural growth. Outreach efforts will include multiple channels: policy briefs, working papers, journal articles, radio and television programs, online fora, workshops and regional and international conferences.  

SRAI 2 will begin by studying how the structure of demand for food is evolving and will likely continue to evolve in West Africa. It will also examine the implications of those changes for the organization of food production and agroprocessing.  The study will then turn to two further key questions:  (a) likely changes in the Asian rice market over the next two decades and (b) alternative ways of organizing key value chains that link smallholders to markets. 
Drawing on work begun under SRAI 1 and other sources, SRAI 2 will develop synthesis reports characterizing:

  • Major trends in food consumption patterns
  • Scope for substitution between locally produced coarse grains and rice

SRAI 2 will choose three farm products and conduct analyses of opportunities and constraints for expansion of production, with a particular emphasis on the post-harvest components of the value chains. 
SRAI 2 will also undertake a wide range of further accompanying studies.
SRAI 2 outreach activities
The pathway between SRAI 2’s empirical research and its policy impacts is built on a strong program of policy outreach to stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels. The outreach plan will include multiple tools, targeted at different audiences.  These include policy briefs, more in depth research reports and journal articles, articles in the popular press and in on-line magazines targeted to an audience of policy makers, policy advisors, and the general public.  The SRAI team will also present results and policy messages at major policy meetings organized by key partners in West Africa, Europe and North America.


SRAI 2 researcher wins award
The October 2013 Africa Rice Congress presented its Most Promising Young Scientist award to Ramzi Adjao from SRAI 2. Adjao's paper and presentation examine implications for West African rice of sector changes in Asia.