Increasing incomes of farmers

Organic and fair-trade exports from Africa



The project has worked with seven different supply chains and more than seven farmer groups, each with their distinct characteristics and starting situation. Not surprisingly outputs and results vary much according to supply chain. On this page a very brief summary of the results is presented, first in terms of output and then in terms of impact.


Training has taken place in all farmer groups. The project trained in total
• 2078 farmers in organic agriculture and fair-trade,
• 229 shea nut collectors in organic requirements for collection
• 108 shea butter producers in organic requirements for butter production
• 68 produce agents/harvesters in quality requirements and record keeping/traceability requirements
• 36 ICS managers/field officers/internal inspectors on their role in the Internal Control System
• 4 documentation officers in record keeping, filing and administrative management,
• 16 executive and board members of farmer associations in the running of their organization including development of sales to exporters (1 group) or in the direct exports (2 groups)
• 5 managers of exporting farmer organizations and 1 exporter in development of their export business.

The training material that has been developed and used in these training sessions has been gathered in a tool box, together with other lessons learned during the project implementation.

All groups have been certified as planned. In terms of export development, results have been as follow:

Burkina Faso:
- BurkiNature increased exports of organic and organic-Fairtrade mangoes by 40% from  2005 to 2006, and between 2006 and 2008 by another 50%.
- CPBKB increased exports of organic shea butter five fold in the course of the project.

- UNAPAC increased exports of pineapples by 40% from 2005 to 2008.

- WAD Ltd. has increased sales of dried and fresh pineapple, and now buys 2.5 times more pineapples from the farmers than at the start of the project (increase of 170%).
- VOMAGA started selling mangoes to processors.

Sierra Leone:
- KAE exported its first 1 container of Fairtrade certified cocoa in January 2009.


The most important criterion for the success of a project is the impact on the target group. To get a better idea of the impact at farmer level, the project conducted impact surveys in all countries.

With the exception of Senegal, these surveys were conducted in the period April – June 2008. The impact of later project activities and developments has thus not been assessed.

The impact survey concluded that the new organic production methods have resulted in improved quality of the products. The majority of respondents also observed an increase in production, which was due to a combination of higher yields and increases in cultivated areas or in the case of shea butter, an increase in collection efforts of shea nuts and subsequent increased transformation of nuts into shea butter.

Whether this increase in production and exports have resulted in reduced poverty and food insecurity is more difficult to ascertain for two reasons. Firstly, the impact of the adoption of the new agricultural and processing methods on the total costs of production varies considerably from one sub-project to the other. Secondly, the starting situation of each sub-project varied considerably as well as the level of poverty and food insecurity of the group members.

Concerning the cost of production, it is clear that the implementation of the organic methods generally results in an increase in labour costs and a decrease in the costs related to the purchasing of agrochemicals. Group marketing reduces the transportation costs of the products to the market.

Regarding the variations in the living conditions at the start of the project, it can generally be concluded that the poorer the producers, the more the project’s impact manifested itself in terms of poverty alleviation and food security.

In general, the project has resulted in an increase in the incomes of its participants as a result of the increase in the production volumes or the price paid to the producers. The additional income generated through the sale of certified products is mainly used for purchasing food or clothing, for paying school fees and for medical expenditures, thereby improving the living conditions and the food security of the participants.

Five out of the seven sub-projects had led to the marketing of certified products at the moment of the impact survey. The producers of these groups confirmed nearly unanimously the positive impact of the marketing of the certified products by the producer groups; no disadvantageous aspects were mentioned.

The impact survey also confirmed the project’s impact on employment through the creation of jobs for workers directly involved in the production of certified products, as well as for workers and administrative staff involved in production supporting services.