FAO consultation workshop on implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in Burkina Faso

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources of the Republic of Burkina Faso organized a consultation workshop on Voluntary Guidelines for Small-Scale Fisheries from 9 to 11 May 2017 in Ouagadougou. 

In June 2014, recognition of the importance of small-scale fisheries and their role in contributing to poverty reduction and improved food security led FAO member countries unanimously to adopt the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in Burkina Faso. 

These Guidelines are a response to the need to enhance fisheries governance at local, national and regional levels together with the sustainable use of fisheries resources, and improve the social and economic development of coastal and inland fishing communities.

In Burkina Faso, fisheries are mainly continental and artisanal. The sector provides livelihoods for 41 366 direct workers: men and women fishers, processors, fishmongers and traders. According to Yvette Diei Ouadi, Fishery Officer at FAO, it is still essential to support small-scale fisheries value chain to meet a growing local and national market demand: in fact, national fishery production – estimated at 22 000 tonnes per year and valued at more than 22 billion CFA francs – meets only 27 percent of the country’s total consumption needs.

The workshop was organized within the FAO Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM), “Enabling women to benefit more equally from agrifood value chains”, implemented in the country since September 2016. After gender-sensitive training and a study of the fishery value chain, the project initiated a participatory process in order to develop a user-friendly and simplified guide for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. 

The workshop was attended by 30 participants, including FAO experts and a local team as facilitators; representatives from the Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources, Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and the Family, and Permanent Secretariat for the Promotion of Gender Equality; representatives of fisheries managers and fish workers' organizations, as well as senior government officers. 

Charles Luanga Ouedraogo, Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources, emphasized that implementation of the Guidelines is in line with the national strategy for the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture by 2025, with a view to increasing the contribution of fish and fishery products to food security. 

The workshop was an excellent opportunity to inform participants about the practical implementation of the Guidelines, with a focus on Chapter 6 (social development, employment and decent work), Chapter 7 (post-harvest value chains and marketing) and Chapter 8 (gender equality), but also on the content of the didactic guide that is particularly tailored to the Burkinabe context, both for policy-makers as well as for grassroots actors.

“We internalized the Voluntary Guidelines and put them in the specific context of Burkina Faso,” said Yacouba Ouedraogo, one of the workshop participants. “We illustrated the chapters with good practices and provided recommendations to make progress in their implementation. Our deliberations also focused on the development of two didactic guides meant respectively for decision-makers (politicians and technicians) and fishing communities, to support the ownership of the Guidelines by all stakeholders.”

Under the umbrella of FAO Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism, a post-harvest fisheries technological platform will be built in the fishing province of Sourou. The platform will serve as a convening point to develop fish operators’ capacity, as well as to enhance value addition. As such, it will be equipped with the necessary infrastructure and improved fisheries processing equipment to ensure a more efficient and sustainable fisheries value chain.

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