The Economic Community of West African States (also known as ECOWAS from its name in French: Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine) is composed of eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. This study is restricted to ECOWAS because it stems from a survey mission headed by the second author and aims to characterize the climate of the territory as a basis for better land use by improving agricultural activities. The climate classification systems proposed by Köppen (1900) and Thornthwaite (1948) were used to carry out the study. As expected, most of the territory belonging to ECOWAS was classified as arid. With respect to the improvement of agricultural management, the climate classes found for the territory give a gross idea of the potential of each country for agricultural exploitation. The climate diversity over relatively short distances obligates detailed studies on land adaptability for growing food crops, which is in practice not made based on scientific criteria. This study shows that there is still room for an expansion of the area for agricultural purposes, and in this way, increasing food production.
Key words: Africa, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), agriculture, crops.
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