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Monday, December 20, 2021

EU subsidises dairy products in West Africa with €235mn – ITREALMS

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Annually the European Union (EU) subsidies on food exports to West Africa stood at €235 million about (N108,344,481,780.00bn) in 2019 for dairy products, reports 
ITREALMS.
This was disclosed by the country director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ms Ene Obi at the just concluded 3rd ECOWAS Agriculture Budget Summit held in Abuja, the Nigeria’s federal capital territory at the weekend, with the theme “The State of Public Financing for Agriculture in ECOWAS Member States.”

ITREALMS gathered that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area founded in 2018, with trade commencing as of 1 January 2021. It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations but ratified by some 22 states as the time of going to the press. AfCFTA has its headquarters in Accra-Ghana.

Also, she revealed to 
ITREALMS that some €205 million about (N 94,513,691,754.00bn) was used to subsidise cereals and preparations and €97 million about (N44,721,112,683.60bn) for poultry meat and preparations by EU, stressing this is mainly concerned subsidies to feed consumed by poultry, within the period under review.

She wondered what Africa especially the West African region will be export to the world if not agriculture, describing as unfortunate the imbalance of trade arising from the fact that EU subsidises food exports to the region to a large extent.

She equally lamented that even in the negotiation table most consultants are being paid by funding from EU and allied.

This, Ene Obi said is not sustainable for the region to get emancipated soon, urging African Parliamentarians and in particular members of the ECOWAS Parliament to ensure the closure of the wide gap in financing agriculture by collaboration with the Non-State Actors (NSA) and asking questions at the country levels.

She expressed optimistic that some countries will join Ghana and Mali to scale the huddle of 10 per cent annual budget spending to be on agriculture as part of Malabo deal.

The prevailing imbalance, she said, have continue to reduce the rate of competitiveness of regional food products and contributed negatively to several job losses.

“… And lack of future for the young West Africans who are thus induced to risk their lives either to try to reach the EU on small boats or to enrol in jihadist movements as a last resort,” Obi bemoaned, emphasising that as at 2019 Biennial Review (BR) Report, only Ghana and Mali, were on track in the ECOWAS region out of the 15 countries.

Equally this has brought about low investment strategies in such areas like the Extension Services, Access to Credit, Women in Agriculture, Youth in Agriculture, Appropriate Labour-Saving Technologies, Inputs, Post-Harvest Losses Reduction Supports (processing facilities, storage facilities, trainings, market access, etc.), Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA)/Agroecology, Research and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as Coordination, just to mention but a few.

ITREALMS recollects that 3rd ECOWAS People’s Agriculture Budget Summit was organised by ActionAid Global Secretariat in collaboration with Oxfam, Trust Africa, ONE, CAADP Non-State Actors Coalition (CNC), ActionAid Ngieria and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), given the direct impact decisions taken on allocations and spending in the agriculture sector usually have on the well-being of citizens.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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