The humanitarian funding to the Sahel is being increased by the European Commission by 40 million euros in a bid to prod a donors' gathering in Brussels.
The proposed increase takes Commission funding to tackle the food crisis to 337 million euros ($425 million), just as experts anticipate a dangerous peak across the region where the EU says 18 million people are in danger from hunger.
Representatives from Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Nigeria are in town for Monday's donor meeting.
"Right now people across the Sahel are starting to scrape the bottom of empty grain stores," EU aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.
"Their only remaining options are to sell their animals (and) farm tools, and eat the grain they should now be planting for the next harvest. This funding is aimed at preventing people having to make these desperate choices."
Oxfam welcomed the lead shown by the Commission, but stressed in a statement: "There is so much more that needs to be done to stop this crisis from turning into a catastrophe."