What can fair trade offer organized small farmers for

Fair trade, forests and food security:
a win–win situation?
What can fair trade offer organized small farmers for
improving food security?
Experiences from the field: Tree Aid, Ragussi and ECOCERT, Burkina Faso
Ludovic Conditamde, Tree Aid, Burkina Faso
TREE AID is not yet working in fair trade, but some
moves in that direction include:
 Support to 428 non-timber forest products
(NTFPs) entrepreneur groups in Burkina & Mali
 Assisting 5 631villagers (79% women) in
marketing 27 NTFPs from 9 species & various
nectar plants in Burkina
Main weakness:
lack of professional
skills among producers,
discouraging entrepreneurs
from buying from villagers
 Average annual income/capita (Burkina) = $430
 Average annual income/rural women (Burkina)= $60
 Surplus income generated by VTE project per
entrepreneur = $12 to $550
 NTFPs contribution to household income = 3.94% for
rich, but 90% for poor
 4 types of possible groupings in Burkina & Mali
for fair trade process:
Grouping by product
The geographical grouping
Structuring per value chain
Adherence to existing
A women’s organization producing shea butter and by-products,
created in Burkina Faso in 1994 for women’s empowerment
Historical challenges: 1997-98 experience
 Lack of customers
 17 tonnes of shea butter
lost (Europe + credit)
 Ragussi Association
closed between 1998 &
2003 because it was
unable to repay loans
Experience of Ragussi in Fair Trade
Organic & fair trade labelling
Conventional & organic shea butter (biokarité) certified
Main market: Occitane, France
Occitane pays Ragussi 80% in advance
Organic/fair trade shea butter: producers received
double price of conventionally-marketed products
Social premium = 10% of sales
Cost of certification: Occitane provides
a 3-year grant
Support from local partners & project in
Burkina as well as from international
Experience of Ragussi in fair trade
Better redistribution of revenues to 1660 members
Training in natural regeneration of trees
Shea butter waste used as combustible energy
20 compost pits developed
Awareness-raising in AIDS & HIV testing for 200
o Social projects developed using the social premium:
 A literacy teaching centre for women
 Daily lunch at women’s training courses
 Sponsored events
Experience of Ragussi in fair trade
Key constraints and
o Resource not widely
o Shortage of financial
resources to buy
appropriate land,
including shea trees
o Disappointment at
production capacity of
shea tree: 5 kg required
for 20 kg of raw produce
Lessons learnt
o Basic market research
needed before adopting
organic/fair trade
o Organic labelling should
come first, followed by
fair trade labelling
Experience of Ragussi in fair trade
Prospects /future plans
o Extension of organiccertified zones
o Finding new outlets
o Developing new
o Decentralizing the
production centre and
building 3 others
o ECOCERT is an independent company and an
inspection and certification body of organic
products founded in France in 1991
Views of ECOCERT on key challenges in Burkina
o Many organizations involved in fair trade
o Poor visibility and lack of the necessary
resources to advertise products
ECOCERT fair trade in Burkina Faso
o A national platform to give visibility to fair trade for
small organizations was created in 2010
o The EFT standard (ECOCERT Fair Trade) applies to
food, cosmetics and textiles meeting both organic
farming and fair trade criteria
o Social, economic and environmental criteria are
checked all along the value chain
o Potential forest products to be traded under fair
trade: shea butter, oil and pulp of the baobab tree
(Adansonia digitata), oil of Balanites aegyptiaca
o Potential zones for fair trade and buffer zones of
protected forests
Questions for discussion
1. What are the preconditions for adding value
through fair trade by small and mediumsized forest enterprises, thus helping
improve food security for local people?
2. What new forest products could fair trade
3. What are the critical factors for privatesector and institutional support for fair
trade in forest products by local small and
medium-sized forest enterprises?

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