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West African Food System Resilience

B de Steenhuijsen Piters, J Nelen, B Wennink, V Ingram, F Tondel, F Kruijssen, J Aker

The West African region supplies most of the food for its growing population, which now exceeds 400 million. West African countries meet most of the region’s needs for coarse grains, tuber and root crops, vegetables, fruits, and meat (excluding some areas of fast-growing consumption such as chicken).

Generic data and their interpretations obscure the region’s food systems, which have evolved over hundreds of years. These systems, often poorly understood by outsiders, exist in complex relationships between people and natural environments, with both short value chains and long ones supplying distant consumer markets.

This study examine how resilient West African food systems are and how their resilience can be strengthened.