The total value of agricultural commodities and livestock traded within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region hit US$29.8 million as at December 31, 2016, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) study has shown.
The figure represents an 11 percent growth in intra-regional trade flows compared to US$26.9 million recorded in November of that same year.
The study titled: “Intra-Regional Trade Flows of Agricultural Products and Livestock in the Sahel and West Africa”, covered eight countries namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
The report showed that trade in the major staple crops of millet, sorghum and maize all saw significant increase over the previous month’s figures.
Total volume of staple foods traded increased slightly by 32 percent; grains 12 percent; and live animals traded increased by 32 percent.
The total volume of grains traded–cereals and cowpeas–totaled 16,798 tonnes, compared to 15,339 tonnesin the previous month, an increase of 5.51 percent for an estimated value of US$ 3,764,440 in December.
According to the study, maize remains the most traded agricultural commodity in the region with coastal countries and Burkina Faso as the main exporting countries.
Burkina Faso was the largest importer of maize with 32 percent of the total import volume, followed by Niger with 30 percent, Mali with 21 percent and Senegal with 15 percent. Mauritania, Benin and Guinea shared the remaining 2 percent of the regional volume imported.
Trade in millet rose by 40 percent to 560 tonnes over the same period November figure of 399 tonnes, with an average regional price per tonne of US$262, while sorghum saw a 12 percent growth rising from 1,464 tonnes to 1,644 tonnes.
Cumulatively, the sub- regional supply of millet and sorghum recorded an increase of 52 percent in December 2016 compared to the November figure, largely attributable to an increase in both millet and sorghum transactions by 40 percent and12 percent respectively, within the period.
Also, the regional average price per tonne of millet was US$262while that for sorghum was US$ 199 per tonne.
According to the CILSS, intra-regional trade of agricultural products play an important role in regional integration as well as the control of food insecurity in West Africa as it is considered the first regional line of defense in the case of food crises.