Taking advantage of the regional 2022 review and 2023 planning workshop of its Agroe-cology Programme, the ECOWAS Commission officially launched, in Cotonou Benin on 3rd November 2022, the agroecology training activities of 15 specialised training centres se-lected for capacity building of family farms.
The ECOWAS Agroecology Programme held this year in Cotonou, Benin, from 31st October to 5th November 2022, its regional workshop to review the activities of 2022 and plan for those of 2023. On the side-lines of this workshop, representatives of the training centres that will be supported by the Programme were invited to a meeting to officially launch their activities.
The launch event, which took place on 3rd November 2022, was followed by a training session on administrative and financial procedures, monitoring and evaluation, and communica-tion/visibility guidelines, to which any project funded or co-funded by the ECOWAS Commission must adhere.
This training project consists of implementing training curricula in agroecology in selected uni-versities and agricultural training centres in each of the 15 ECOWAS Member States. The initia-tive aims to train at least 12,000 learners, with at least 30% of them women, to maintain soil fer-tility and optimise the use of water resources in a context of irregular, insufficient and some-times dangerously devastating rainfall.
According to Amadou Diongue, ECOWAS Resident Representative in Benin, it is important to promote the knowledge of farmers at the grassroots level who participate in agroecology. For him, the operationalisation of these training centres is an integral part of the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) which aims to significantly transform agriculture in West Africa through accompanying family farms towards agroecological transition. The training centres will also reduce the harmful effects of climate change by teaching integrated climate, soil and crop management techniques.
To recall, the ECOWAS Agroecology Programme is designed as an alternative to face the chal-lenges of climate change and vulnerability. It aims to support family farms towards an agro-ecological transition that allows them to reconcile economic performance, food security, strengthening resilience, preserving the environment and the health of populations. It started on 15th January 2018 with the operational implementation of the Projet d’Appui à la Transition Agroécologique (PATAE) funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) with a budget of €8M. It has been extended with the integration, as of 15th March 2019, of the Project to support the Dissemination and Implementation of Good Practices for Sustainable Agricultural Intensifi-cation (PAIAD) funded by the European Union (EU) with a budget of €8.2M. The operational im-plementation of PAIAD started in June 2020.