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Preventing Food Crises in the Sahel

An Interview with Dramane Coulibaly, Regional Food Security Programme Coordinator, CILSS
10 Jan 2010, Africa - West

Dramane Coulibaly is the coordinator of the regional food security programme of the Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel (CILSS)

The Comité Inter-Etate pour la Lutte contre la Sécheresse au Sahel (CILSS) was set up in 1973 to ensure food security in the Sahel.

Denise Melvin is the Communications Officer of the EC-FAO Food Security Programme.

 

DM:
What have the major successes of CILSS been?
DC:
Our main success is that there have not been any major food crises in the Sahel in recent years. This is partly because CILSS has managed to get the right information to governments in time for them to take action. After all, most food crises are predictable – and thus can be prevented.

DM:
Can you give an example of how CILSS helps governments prevent food crises?

DC:
CILSS can warn governments in September if there will be problems with the harvest in December. We do this by examining data about how well crops are growing.

If we predict poor harvests, governments can take preventative measures such as importing food or releasing reserves.

We also:

bullet

give policy advice and help governments come up with strategies for implementing them;

bullet

build national capacity in a variety of food security related fields; and

bullet

coordinate agricultural research across the region.


DM:
What are some of the challenges to food security in the Sahel?

DC:
We have very high demographic growth rates. The recent food crises showed us that we must be much more self-sufficient in meeting our growing food needs. Our area is also prone to droughts.

DM:
How is FAO working with CILSS?

DC:
FAO helps build capacity in our regional food security information systems by providing training and equipment.

We are working together to harmonize processes and standards to make sure food security related information can be collected and shared more effectively.

DM:
Can you give some examples of how you will be working with the EC-FAO Food Security Programme in particular?

DC:
We will soon be doing a training needs assessment in our regional food security information systems. We will then use your food security distance learning courses and organize face to face training workshops.

The “Improved Global Governance for Hunger Reduction” programme is funded by the European Union with additional resources provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The programme is managed by FAO and collaborates with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP)”