In view of the shortcomings of existing information systems and with the advent of ECOWAP (Economic Community of West African States Agricultural Policy) of ECOWAS) / CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program), ECOWAS, in collaboration with partner agencies, decided to implement an integrated agriculture information system “ECOAGRIS”. The design process of the “Regional Information System on the Agricultural Sector". (ECOAGRIS) started in 2007. It has undergone several stages, namely :
- the definition and validation of the concept note of its implementation at the regional and national levels (Ouagadougou, Mai 2007);
- the adoption of guidelines (Cotonou, April 2008);
- the adoption of objectives and results of ECOAGRIS (Dakar, June 2009);
- validation of an orientation report (Abuja, August 2009); and finally the Cotonou meeting on the formulation of the final work plan for the implementation of the ECOAGRIS system (3 to 8 October 2010).
In response to the food crisis of December 2008, the European Union initiated the "Food Facility" (EUFF) for a period of 3 years, from 2009 to 2011. Within the framework of this food facility, a regional program for food facility entitled "Food Facility Programme UEFIDA-ECOWAS" was established. The pilot phase of this program is presently being implemented in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal by ECOWAS and IFAD.
The overall objective of this program is to strengthen regional integration by providing support to improve access to food and food security in the region.
The UEFIDA-ECOWAS Food Facility Programme focuses on three components:
Component A is aimed at increasing productivity through the availability and access to improved seeds for rice, maize, groundnuts, cassava and other tubers, and the capacity for production and distribution of other staple crops in the region. This component will be implemented by IFAD through its projects in the countries concerned.
Component B, implemented by ICRISAT is focused on strengthening the production of sorghum and millet in the entire region to confront serious food security problems due to low rainfall, which significantly reduced harvests of sorghum and millet in 2009.
Component C, which is the ECOWAS component, aims to help the West African region to build capacity to support and manage regional interventions within the framework of the common agricultural policy ECOWAP. ECOAGRIS is one of the flagship activities.
As part of the implementation of Component C of the Regional Programme of Food Facility, ECOWAS, in collaboration with partner agencies, decided to operationalize the ECOAGRIS system and set up the Food Security Component of the Information System .