The French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) have decided to jointly finance a project to support the development of fair trade in West Africa, by encouraging innovative approaches based on both fair trade and the preservation of biodiversity. The purpose of the project is to contribute to the sustainable economic development of West African countries and the fight against poverty by strengthening family agriculture and supporting the development of equitable value chains.
This project will find out if and how fair trade can be a tool to develop profitable activities among the inhabitants of protected areas, that can limit the negative environmental impacts on these areas and can contribute to protect natural biodiversity and to alleviate climatic change.
Today, West African producer organisations that fit within the fair trade principles might have trouble to obtain their certification or to insert the fair trade market. One of the main aim of this program is to respond to this identified need for structuration among the producer organisations’ networks, and for assistance among these organisations to strengthen their capacities.
There are several stakes to support fair trade in West African countries:
Fair trade impacts show that it can be a tool for sustainable development, especially in this area where fair trade is not very developed.
Certified organisations have more than 10 years of experience in fair trade but are still facing a weak institutional and financial stability, and are struggling to find new commercial outlets.
There is a need for references and support among newly certified organisations.
Biodiversity need to be protected in West Africa, in the Sudano-Sahelian region as much as in the forest regions, where humid forests represents a flora and fauna reservoir.