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Settlement, Market and Food Security

image of Settlement, Market and Food Security

Settlement dynamics have been reshaping West Africa’s social and economic geography. These spatial transformations – high urbanisation and economic concentration – favour the development of market-oriented agriculture.

With the population of West Africa set to double by 2050, agricultural production systems will undergo far-reaching transformations. To support these transformations, policies need to be spatially targeted, improve availability of market information and broaden the field of food security to policy domains beyond agriculture. They need to rely on homogeneous and reliable data – not available at present – particularly for key variables such as non-agricultural and agricultural population, marketed production and regional trade.

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The future of agricultural systems

Sahel and West Africa Club

The transformation of production systems, linked to the evolution of the non-agricultural and agricultural populations and the relationship between the two, will be one of the major challenges in the decades ahead. This challenge is identified in national and regional agricultural policies. Thus, UEMOA’s Agricultural Policy (APU) notes that “if urbanisation continues at the same rate, the current relationship between towns (cities) and the rural environment should be inverted in 20 years. Whereas in 1990, taking UEMOA as a whole, one urban dweller was a potential customer of two rural inhabitants, projections for 2020 point to a radical change because one farmer will have to feed more than one urban dweller. This presupposes that farmers wishing to satisfy growing demand from (urban and rural) non-producers will have to raise their productivity considerably” (UEMOA, 2002).

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