ECOWAS Launches Food Security Programme

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Abuja - Nigeria — The ECOWAS Commission has launched an "ambitious programme" to promote food self-sufficiency and reduce food import into the region by 40 percent over the next three years, Vice-President of the Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh has said.

He told visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of German, Dr. Guido Westerwelle in Abuja on Friday 2nd November 2012, that the region is determined to pursue this programme during the tenure of the present management at the Commission which came to office early this year "even if we have to concentrate on our staple foods.”

The vice-president paid tribute to the German Government for its support to ECOWAS in the areas of peace and security as well as capacity building to better equip the organisation discharge its mandate of promoting the socio- economic development of its 15 Member States. He canvassed the country's support for the region’s food self-sufficiency initiative and regional infrastructure improvement, to serve as catalyst for development through addressing gaps in West Africa's section of the Trans- African Highway along the coast.

Dr. McIntosh also applauded Germany’s pledge of 1 million Euros to support people displaced by the crisis in Mali. Dr. Westerwelle, who was at the Commission as part of a West African tour that took his six-member delegation to Senegal, Mali and Nigeria, praised the "strong and sustainable" relations with ECOWAS since 2006.” He also commended the role played by ECOWAS in the international arena and it's commitment to economic growth and development, describing it as a "sign of the growing self-confidence of the region.”

Also at the meeting were the ECOWAS Commissioners for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Sulaiman and her counterpart for Human Development and Gender, Dr Adrienne Diop. Both Commissioners briefed the minister on the recent developments in Guinea Bissau and Mali, illicit drug trafficking and humanitarian situation in the region, particularly related to the crisis in Mali.

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