Good Food for Cities

Building trust in the sesame value chain in Burkina Faso

March 8, 2022
Rose Somda

December is harvest time in central-eastern Burkina Faso. The sesame and soya fields cultivated between June and October are full of people harvesting. This landscape provides the right setting for sesame farmers' organisations and exporting companies to cultivate sustainable and inclusive trade agreements. Read how we did it in a two-day business-to-business (B2B) meeting in Koupéla.

The central-eastern region of Burkina is one of the poorest in the country. The producers - not surprisingly - receive low profits from the sale of sesame, soya and non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as shea fruits for shea butter, neem fruits and balanites.

Although sesame has a high market price, the limited entrepreneurial capacity and professionalisation conditions in which the farmers’ organisations operate limit their access to fair prices and formal business opportunities. For example, in 2015, although sesame prices were attractive on the national market (174 West African CFA francs or 0.302 USD in 2014 to 197 West African CFA francs equivalent to 0.0017 USD in 2016), only 53% of sesame produced in the region was sold.

Transport of sesame

To offer a solution, Rikolto, together with Trias VZW, Agence pour le Développement et l'Innovation du Monde Agricole (ADIMA), Belgische Raiffeisen Stichting (BRS) and Interprofession Sésame du Burkina Faso (INTERSEB), are implementing the Production and Processing for Economic Resilience of Women and Youth in the Centre East Region (PTRE-FJ) project funded by the Belgian development agency, Enabel.

The aim of the project is to improve the professionalisation of 154 farmers’ organisations and agribusinesses, to increase their competitiveness and to facilitate their access to inclusive business models with niche markets.

To achieve this objective, Rikolto is organising B2B meetings, focused on facilitating trade agreements with a long-term perspective, where the needs of farmers and buyers are clearly taken into account.

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But before we get to the table...

In order to prepare the negotiation conditions, Rikolto has been working on capacity building with the farmers’ organisation or Society cooperatives to strengthen their governance and entrepreneurial management and ensure compliance with good agricultural practices and good management practices, and quality and food safety standards.

During 2021, besides supporting and strengthening the farmers’ organisations, in the framework of the project Rikolto facilitated the application of the Link Methodology with 6 buyer companies with commercial links with 25 farmers’ organisations. Using this participatory methodology allows them to design and implement inclusive business strategies. In an ‘inclusive’ business model, farmers are viewed as fully-fledged players in the chain.

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Bringing everyone to the “real business” table

During the two-day meeting in Koupéla - a town east of the capital Ouagadougou – the team running the project make sure that everyone dives into information regards sesame, shea and soybean international markets. Also, they held a capacity-building session on marketing and negotiation with the farmers’ organisations, and facilitated exchanges with the buyers and the B2B dialogue rooms.

This meeting aims to enable target value chain actors to establish formal and sustainable commercial relationships, to facilitate sales contracts between the value chain actors and potential buyers and exporters, and to share with them the opportunities and financing mechanisms offered by MFIs/IFs.

Ludovic Yigo

Junior Technical Advisor for the PTRE - FJ project

Roland BATIONO represented Enabel at the B2B meeting
Roland BATIONO, entrepreneurship expert at Enabel, followed the B2B meeting from start to finish.

We came because we were certain that we would find very good quality products with the cooperatives. Even if the price is high this year, we are not buying at a loss because [thanks to the quality] we will find the nutrients we are looking for in the soybeans.

Souleymane Ouedraogo

Manager of FAMOS

The B2B format enabled the different actors to conclude formal sales agreements between cooperatives (producers and processors) and buyers in the amount of 762 tonnes for a value of 342,084,200 CFA francs and 7,005 tonnes under discussion for a value of 1,261,386,250 CFA francs, i.e. a projected turnover of 1,603,920,450 CFA francs.

Mrs. GOUMBANE/GAMENE Andrea, president of the LAAFI-GO farmers’ organisation in Garango expresses her gratitude:

I say a big thank you to those who organised the B2B meeting because they have shown their ability to accompany us until we have buyers. Today, we know that we have people to rely on - if we produce, if we transform, we know that there are people who are there to buy our products.

Goumbane/Gamene Andrea

President of the LAAFI-GO farmers’ organisation in Garango

Sesame cultivation is of increasing importance today for Burkina Faso’s economy in terms of the jobs it creates, the income it generates, and the efficiency of the distribution of wealth between the actors. The sesame sector is thus a secure source of income for actors, farmers, and processors. Sesame is an undemanding plant, relatively easy to grow, with low production costs. Therefore it is easily accessible to women and young people.

For this reason it is essential to improve the professionalisation of farmers’ organisations and agribusinesses, to increase their competitiveness and to facilitate their access to inclusive business models with niche markets.

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