West Africa is a region facing rapid growth, resulting in changes to the demand on food and agri-business structures. SRAI 2 was the second phase and used the building blocks already created from the first phase, SRAI 1. From 2013 to 2017, further research was conducted about how agriculture and agribusiness can respond to the region’s rapidly growing and changing demand and ensure broad-based benefits to farmers, agribusinesses, and consumers. We carry out target empirical research and outreach to fill critical knowledge gaps and deliver recommendations and policy options to policy makers and other relevant stakeholders at local, national and regional levels.
Goals and activities
The goal of SRAI 2 was to provide specific, targeted empirical information to policy stakeholders in West Africa. This information supported 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 was to promote efficient, equitable growth in the agri-food system in West Africa. SRAI 2 achieved this by informing the findings of SRAI 1 to policy makers 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.
Four focus areas
1. Understanding the changing structure of food demand in West Africa, its likely future evolution and the implications of these changes for the development of agro-processing; 2. Analyzing the likely future evolution of the Asian rice market and its implications for West Africa; 3. Analyzing alternative models of value chain organizations 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 has encompassed two principal efforts
Research and capacity development focused on the identification of factors that have helped to connect regional supply and demand for food, with special attention given to the off-farm-elements of key value chain, including processing. The project focused particularly on value chains that (a) had strong growth and employment-generation potential and (b) were important contributors to food security.
Outreach and policy dialogue aimed at supporting regional initiatives for food security and agricultural growth. Outreach efforts included multiple channels: policy briefs, working papers, journal articles, radio and television programs, online fora, workshops and regional and international conferences.
Drawing on work initially begun under SRAI 1 and other sources, SRAI 2 developed synthesis reports characterizing:
Major trends in food consumption patterns
Scope for substitution between locally produced coarse grains and rice
SRAI 2 chose three farm products and conducted analyses of opportunities and constraints for expansion of production, with a particular emphasis on the post-harvest components of the value chains.
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 included multiple tools, like 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 also presented results and policy messages at major policy meetings.