By investing in livestock farming, Dutch industry can help improve food safety in West Africa. Taking a flexible and creative approach, and working alongside local partners, there is considerable potential in this respect. This is the conclusion of an analysis by Wageningen UR Livestock Research and La Ventana Consulting for the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Foreign Affairs. The analysis aims to support policy discussions, but also contains suggestions for industry.
Livestock farming in West Africa is traditionally very important. The analysis emphasises the contribution of livestock farming to food security, the increased demand for animal products in expanding urban environments and the need for good information about issues relating to aid and trade in a rapidly changing region. In the short term, these changes offer opportunities for the supply industry in animal feed, animal health and refrigeration technology, as well as in knowledge transfer, hereby focusing on a robust, decentralised approach.
The analysis describes the potential for livestock development in relation to greater food security in West Africa through aid and trade. Food security is thereby defined as: enough food for everyone at any time. It is a search for win-win situations between aid and trade, reflecting the rising importance of the Netherlands of public-private joint ventures. Transparency is vital, because the win-win situation is not automatically achieved. A creative approach is required to promote synergy between aid and trade.
The analysis initially addresses the differences and similarities in livestock farming and formal institutions in West Africa as a whole and in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali in particular. This is followed by a consideration of the opportunities and a discussion about policy choices, with the trade-offs playing a central role. The biggest trade-offs can be expected in policy decisions relating to centralised or decentralised location of food processing for the city and exports.