Ministers from five West African countries have been meeting in the Ivory Coast to discuss ways of improving supplies throughout the region.
Ministers from five West African countries have been meeting in the Ivory Coast to discuss ways of improving supplies throughout the region. Production of beef in particular has been severely affected by low rainfall over the past few year, leading to widespread starvation of herds in some areas.
SYNOPSIS: Abidjan's Hotel Ivoire was the setting for the 17th meeting of the West African ministerial committee which is concerned with the region's cattle and meat production.
Chaired by Monsieur Dicoh Garba, the Ivory's Coast's Minister for Animal Production, the meeting was attended by delegates from four other nations facing supply problems.
Although the Ivory Coast has not been affected as seriously as some other countries, the whole of the region has been suffering from the lack of rainfall. The Upper Volta and Niger, both represented at the talks, are two of the countries which make up the Sahel region, disastrously hit by droughts in 1972 and 1973. Since then there has been a slight recovery, but not enough rain has fallen to make an appreciable difference.
Foreign aid has helped to improve some facilities and stave off starvation. But Western aid experts say the problem is aggravated by inadequate transport. One expert claimed that delays of two months in shipping supplies from the port of Abidjan by rail to Upper Volta were not uncommon.