A total of 4,731 metric tonnes of staples foods have been traded across two major corridors: Ghana-Burkina Faso and Nigeria-Niger, under the West Africa Food Markets (WAFM) programme, as a result of a grantee business model.
This is to address food insecurity and enhance staple food trade along these four countries.
The programme has supported 330,000 famers, against a targeted number of 130,000 farmers. Staples purchased from smallholder farmers amounted to £ 9,184,429 by grantees.
In an interview with Goldstreet Business, at the validation workshop of the cross border trade guide on import and export provisions on specified processed cereals, the Policy Facility Manager for WAFM, Noel Yao Kossonou said the programme insist on the fortified foods, due to the crisis going on in Nigeria, Niger and along the border of Burkina Faso and Mali.
The programme which begun in 2014, funded by UKaid, under the Department of International Development (DFID) is expected to end in 2019.
The project supports businesses to launch innovative ventures that increase production, processing, storage and marketing of staple crops through cross-border trade and supports improvements of policy and regulatory environment for staple food trade.
Three Ghanaian food companies formed part of the 12 selected from the four countries under the WAFM programme. Five additional firms are currently at various stages of screening, evaluation and contracting.
The programme has immensely contributed to boosting the purchasing power, regional trade and the resilience of farmers and addressing hunger and malnutrition.
Kossonou said the programme has two highly interactive components, which is working together to improve staple food trade in the sub-region. These component are the Challenge Fund and Policy Facility.
The Challenge Fund is currently actively supporting nine businesses in the four targeted countries, committing more than £5 million in grants, whereas the Policy Facility also conducts policy research to catalyse policy and regulatory dialogue, and working with stakeholders to tackle key barriers to cross-borders trade in staple foods.
By Joshua W. Amlanu