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MIR Plus An ECOWAS - UEMOA Joint Project implemented by IFDC



Information Bulletin The MIR Plus Project An embodiment of the commitment of ECOWAS and UEMOA to facilitate the development of a regional agri-input market in West Africa Context The increase in economic growth West Africa has experienced in recent years has not been sufficient to significantly reduce poverty for nearly 60 percent of the 250 million West Africans living in rural areas. To reduce rural poverty in the region one must also improve the distribution of assets and increase the opportunities for economic participation by smallscale farmers. This can be done by significantly improving their productivity and their access to markets and basic services.

their agricultural policies, ECOWAS and UEMOA clearly recognize that national agri-input markets in West Africa are too small to foster an environment that is dynamic and competitive enough. The promotion of a broader regional market that permits free movement of agri-inputs within the region without endangering public health and the environment is likely to increase farmers’ access to a more diverse and more competitive range of products. The MIR Plus project and its predecessor MIR (2003-2007) are manifestations of ECOWAS and

Because a great majority of the rural dwellers in West Africa earn their living from agriculture, the sector’s development must be the focus of efforts aimed at significantly reducing poverty in the member States. Therefore, improving its low agricultural productivity through greater use of quality agri-inputs is critical for poverty reduction in the region.

UEMOA resolve to achieve this goal. Objective The overall objective of the MIR Plus Project is to facilitate the development of a regional agri-input market in West Africa to support the implementation of the regional agricultural policies. Inputs targeted The project focuses primarily on seeds, fertilizers and crop protection products (CPP). In addition, the project selectively deals with

Justification The intensification of agricultural production depends on many factors, including the existence of supply systems that ensure farmers an adequate availability of quality agri-inputs at affordable prices. In

The ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissioners in charge of agriculture sharing ideas on the follow up to the MIR Project (July 2007, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)

MIR Plus Contact : Georges Dimithe (PhD), Project Coordinator P.O. Box 10948 Garki, Abuja, Nigeria - telephone: +234 703 897 4713 - email:


veterinary products and animal feed policy issues that other ECOWAS and/or UEMOA programs are not addressing. Areas of intervention The project’s activities are focused on the following four priority areas of intervention: (a) Facilitating the creation of a favorable policy and regulatory environment for the development of the agri-inputs market This project component focuses on facilitating the creation of a favorable policy and regulatory environment for the development of the regional agri-input market in West Africa. To achieve this goal, ECOWAS and UEMOA seek to strengthen weak or nonexistent regulatory services to protect farmers against unscrupulous vendors and facilitate fair competition, thereby stimulating private investments. Furthermore, efforts are made to ensure effective compliance with the regional tariff regime applicable to agri-inputs and to harmonize VAT rates across countries. Specific project activities to create the enabling environment are the following:  Supporting the adoption and

implementation of regional regulatory frameworks for seeds, fertilizer and CPPs.  Supporting the monitoring of

effective implementation by all ECOWAS member States of the common external tariff for seeds, fertilizer, CPPs and veterinary products.  Supporting the harmonization

of national VAT rates across ECOWAS member States for seeds, fertilizer, CPPs and veterinary products.  Sensitizing

and informing stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities for domestic

production and trade of fertilizer, seeds, veterinary products and animal feed.

(c) Improving availability and access to technical and marketing information on agr-inputs

 Sensitizing and informing pol-

icy makers on the marketfriendly alternatives for administering subsidies for agri-input procurement and use. (b) Promoting innovations and stimulating increased agricultural inputs marketing and use This component focuses on promoting modern agricultural technologies and improved marketing practices to further stimulate the trade and use of agri-inputs in the region. It is one among many other activities ECOWAS and UEMOA have undertaken and that indicate their recognition of the critical role of innovations in improving agricultural productivity in West Africa. T hr o u gh t hi s co mp o ne nt , ECOWAS and UEMOA seek to encourage and involve stakeholders in the development of innovative ideas for promoting the production, marketing and use of agri-inputs. This promotion is carried out through activities involving demonstration plots, technical training and coaching on the new technologies and practices. These activities include the following:  Supporting

the testing and eventual promotion of the urea deep placement (UDP) technology for irrigated rice in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

 Supporting the updating of fer-

tilizer recommendations in all ECOWAS member States for a selected set of crop species.  Supporting the establishment

of a competitive regional fund for promoting innovations in agri-input production, trade and use.

This component focuses on improving availability of technical and market information on agriinputs and the accessibility to this information in West Africa. Timely access to such information is critical to empower farmers to make informed decisions on what inputs to buy and where to buy them. Technical information about agri-inputs is also critical to empower agro dealers to provide better advice to their farmer customers, thereby limiting the associated economic, public health and environmental risks. In the MIR Plus project, improving the provision of technical and market information is done through the following specific activities:  Supporting the setting up of a

functioning regional agri-input market and technical information system within ECOBIZ.  Sensitizing and informing re-

gional and national policymakers about the opportunities for West Africa in the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism. ECOBIZ is an ECOWAS and UEMOA network federating different information systems on agricultural production as well as market and trade opportunities in West Africa. ECOBIZ is structured in four main components: Trade Opportunities (TRADEOPS), Investments (ECOINVEST), Prices (INFOPRIX), and Tenders (ECOTENDER). The MIR Plus project provides technical assistance to ECOWAS and UEMOA to ensure that ECOBIZ components include technical and market information on agri-inputs.


(d) Strengthening the capacities of Producers Organizations to access agri-inputs This project component focuses on strengthening the capacity of Producers’ Organizations to access agri-inputs by training them and linking them with agrodealers (primarily those trained by AGRA projects in Ghana and Nigeria). These projects seek to professionalize agro-dealers to ensure that they will be able to better serve farmers in their areas. Farmers’ capacity is strengthened through the following specific activities:  Improving product knowledge

and promoting safe use among small-scale farmers.  Training farmers to pool their

demand for agri-inputs.  Linking Producers’ Organiza-

tions and farmers to agro dealers.  Improving

the procurement skills and strengthening the institutional organization of Producers’ Organizations that are involved in purchasing large quantities of agri-inputs.

Value-adding continuity--- Consolidating (“valorizing”) the fiveyear investment in MIR. RECs commitment --- Ensuring that ECOWAS and UEMOA cover important shares of the operational costs. Focus and effectiveness--- Ensuring effectiveness and focus on capacity building by targeting Farmers’ Organizations and working synergistically with complementary projects focused on developing the dealer network. Institutional arrangement and funding The MIR Plus project is a joint ECOWAS-UEMOA project implemented by IFDC. The International Cooperation Department (DGIS) of the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation funds IFDC technical assistance, while the operational costs are borne by the two Regional Economic Communities (RECs) with a contribution from DGIS. The project activities are derived from the RECs’ annual work plans. Compared with the first phase, the

current arrangement provides a much stronger project institutional anchor within the IGOs and hence, greater ownership of the project through:  An explicit commitment from

the outset of the IGOs to contribute financially toward the implementation of the project. During the first phase, the project was designed to be fully funded by DGIS. However, during its implementation, these IGOs gradually made significant financial contributions.  A greater role in decision-

making in the implementation of project activities. Contrary to this second phase, the activities of the first phase of the project were not extracted from the annual work plans of IGOs,.  Greater control and leadership

in the conduct of planned activities. Key expected results Key project indicators and expected targets to be achieved during the project duration are the following:

Guiding principles Based on the lessons learned from the implementation of the MIR project, IFDC proposes to continue its effort over another fiveyear period with the following implementation principles: Sustainability---Ensuring sustainability of the project’s results through implementation by ECOWAS/UEMOA of activities that have a regional scope, mostly through own funding, with IFDC facilitation. Ownership--- Ensuring appropriate regional and national ownership through the active involvement of the stakeholders and information-sharing.

The project advisory committee at work in the meeting during which the ECOWAs and UEMOA Commissioners decided to extend the project into a second phase (July 2007, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)


 In the AGRA target-countries

 A significant improvement in

(Ghana and Nigeria), a total of 2.23 million farmers will be linked to agro-input dealers and trained in procurement and product knowledge;

agri-input quality: over 80% of pesticides commercialized in the region are registered and over 80% of fertilizers and

20% of seeds commercialized in the region meet the quality requirements of the regional regulatory frameworks ■

 A 20% yield increase for

maize and rain-fed rice for targeted farmers in AGRA target countries (Ghana and Nigeria);  A 20% increase in yield for

irrigated rice for targeted farmers adopting UDP technology in Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Sierra Leone;  An overall 5 - 10% reduction

in the cost of inputs at farm level in the region;  A 10 - 15% reduction in the

cost of inputs for those Farmers’ Organizations that are trained in pooling their demand or in agri-input procurement;

A working session of a visit of the donor DGIS represented by Mme Monique Calon to the MIR project coordination office for an effective monitoring of the implementation of the project (November 2006, Ouagadougou)

ABOUT IFDC IFDC is a non profit International Center that, for more than 30 years, has provided a broad range of services through technical assistance, research and training for the agricultural sector. The Center’s mission is to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound plant nutriment technologies and agricultural marketing expertise. IFDC’s results-oriented projects cover various specialities, notably agribusiness, engineering and technology development, management information systems, plant nutriment management, policy reform, and market development.

Created in 1974, IFDC is headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA. It is structured in five divisions (Eurasia, Latin America, Research and Development, North and West Africa, East and Southern Africa). The North and West Africa Division within which the MIR Plus is managed has seven offices located in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Togo. Contact for IFDC North & West Africa Division: Marjatta Eilitta (PhD) Director IFDC North & West Africa Division P.O. Box 4483, Lome – Togo Email: For more information, please visit

Our forthcoming issues The frequency of this publication is not specific. Subsequent issues will be produced on project-related themes when we have adequate material. The following topics will be covered in our forthcoming issues: An overview of the ECOWAS agricultural policy (ECOWAP) and its main implementation instrument.

MIR Plus Contact : Georges Dimithe (PhD), Project Coordinator P.O. Box 10948 Garki, Abuja, Nigeria - telephone: +234 703 897 4713 - email:

MIR Plus Information Bulletin 4, November 2009 - English  

MIR Plus Information Bulletin 4, November 2009 - English

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