Increasing incomes of farmers

Organic and fair-trade exports from Africa


Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso the project supports two supply chains: mango and shea butter.

In April 2008 the project organized a national workshop to share the initial results of the project with a wider audience and discuss potential options for further development of the organic and fair-trade sectors in Burkina Faso. 

Flowering mango orchard. Photo: A.K. Nadié, 2008.


The project has supported suppliers of organic mangos and their exporter BurkiNature. The project has focused its activities in particular on two groups: Yu Wa Lo in Zoula, near Koudougou, and Cooperative Zoutou in Kourinion, near Orodara. With project funds, BurkiNature organized training on auditing practices to comply with FLO fair-trade standards and they were certified Fairtrade. The Fairtrade premium is used for schooling expenses for the girls in the community and Yu Wa Lo is now also setting up a drying unit to dry mangos that are not purchased by BurkiNature.

During the project period BurkiNature was growing fast and was having difficulties to respond to training needs of its suppliers. More often than not, training provided to village representatives was not passed on to other farmers. Collaboration with the FAO Farmers' Field School (FFS) Programme for Integrated Production and Protection Management introduced a more participative approach. They adapted the usual FFS approach for annual crops to the situation of perennial mango orchards.

During more than a year farmers came together once in 6 weeks for 3 to 5 days. They received training in facilitation skills as well as in technical areas relevant for the period of the year. These farmers subsequently acted as facilitators in the farmer field schools in their villages. Technical subjects also included record keeping, certification programmes and measures to comply with GlobalGap standards. The exporter's quality control officer acted as resource person in the farmer-facilitator training.


The 'barratage', the butter emerges from the emulsion. Photo: C.E. Dankers, 2008.

Shea butter

Shea butter is extracted from the kernels of the shea tree, which grows in the savannah of the Sahel. Shea butter is traditionally used for cooking, as a skin care product, to make soap and for medical purposes. Also the modern cosmetic industry has discovered the therapeutic properties of shea butter for the skin.

To take advantage of demand for organic shea butter, in 2003 three associations formed a Club to organise the organic certification:

- Association Burkinabé pour la Promotion de la Jeune Fille (ABPJF);
- Association Ragussi;
- Union des Groupements Féminins/Ce Dwane Nyee (UGF/CDN).

However, since the Club des Productrices de Beurre de Karité Biologique (CPBKB) was certified, export volume of organic butter was erratic. The project organized training for the women who collect the nuts in the villages and for the women who extract the butter at the production centres to ensure they complied with the training requirements of the organic standards. The management of the Club received training on the planning of production capacity and on cost-benefit analysis to support them in contract negotiations.

Since the 2006/07 season the Club has received consistent orders for a volume three times higher than in any year before. The Club has also become gradually less dependent on the intermediary they relied on, and since 2008 the associations have entered into a direct contractual relationship with the importer.

Furthermore, in order to improve the quality of the kernels they are pioneering a new organization of the supply chain. Until now depulping, boiling and drying of the nuts was done by the collectors and the nuts were stored in their homes. The project assists in building three village centres where this processing takes place in more controlled circumstances with proper storage facilities.