The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in its political declaration of 4 May 2021 has described smallholder farmers as "the first line of defense in West Africa's storage system, but the first to suffer"in food crisis.
The declaration was made as part of the International Online Conference organised by the ECOWAS Commission from 28 April to 10 May 2021 to enable member states, technocrats, development partners, financial institution with its partners from other regions of the world, to enable them share their experience of their food security, continues to attract many commitments.
Silo, as a tall tower or pit on a farm used to store grain, is not a new concept in farming in the sub region. Also called food banks, they usually serve as a food storage for small holders, rural farmers, including grains and seeds for next season's planting.
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), through its Subregional Coordinator for Africa Western and Representative in Senegal, Mr. Gouantoueu Robert Guei, called for continued cooperation to consolidate collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and its partners to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations in West Africa and achieve food sovereignty.
"The first line of defense for the West African storage system, are the first victims of the volatility of agricultural product prices on the market, due to the lack of storage infrastructures," Mr Robert Guei said.
He therefore invites the international community and all technical and financial partners to combine their efforts to support the Cedeao Commission in launching a major programme to the "1 million silos for West Africa" initiative, as an important programme for the expansion of family and community silos.
FAO has proven experience in food safety storage, and assures support to the ECOWAS Commission to achieve this ambition. In fact, the goals of Malabo's Declaration and accompanying commitments of reducing hunger in the region can only be achieved through the creation of solid food storage systems.
The general objective of this International Conference is to build the basis for a renewed multilateral partnership to reinforce alert, prevention, intervention and humanitarian aid and assistance to populations affected by food crisis.