The West African Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture

About

Overview
The West African Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture is an initiative to promote climate smart agriculture and resilient supply chains across 15 countries in West Africa, through provision of grants for technical assistance and subsidized-rate loans or guarantees for the smallholder farmers organisations and the agricultural private sector. Scaling up climate-smart agriculture practices would help ensure climate-friendly food security; for example in Burkina Faso, scaling up on 10% of available land would store up to 2 million tons of carbon and feed more than 1.2 million people.

The Problem
The agro-ecosystems of West Africa are very diverse; the current and future vulnerabilities of communities are also multiple. While this agro-ecological diversity can be an asset today, the exacerbation of climate contrasts and the general degradation of land and rainfall conditions (variable years after years) call for a strengthening of regional cooperation frameworks among the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). West African agriculture is dominated by family farming systems (the main source of income and livelihood for 70% of the population) that is struggling to access finance to invest in sustainable production capacities and in the implementation of technical solutions already proven to increase climate resilience.

The Solution
The West African Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture is an initiative of the ECOWAS Commission to promote climate smart agriculture and resilient supply chains across 15 countries in West Africa, through provision of grants for technical assistance, and subsidized-rate loans or guarantees for the smallholder farmers organisations and the agricultural private sector. It is a blended finance fund that will be added as a fifth window to an existing ECOWAS Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP) and the ECOWAS Regional Fund for Agriculture and Food (ECOWADF), with a specific focus on climate-smart agriculture.

Target Impact
The proponent, the ECOWAS Commission, estimates that 70% of the population in West Africa is reliant on agriculture as their main livelihoods and struggle to access finance. The simulation of the scaling up climate-smart agriculture practices on 10% of available land in West African countries shows the high potential of CSA techniques to ensure sustainable and climate-friendly food security: significant increase in agricultural production (for a country like Burkina Faso, for example: surplus production of 280,000 t, to cover the food needs of 1,250,000 additional people),  and an important contribution to mitigation (in Burkina Faso, e.g., to store approx. 1,880,000 tons of carbon dioxide).