- Evaluation 2007 et Programme agricole 2008 de YNW
- Max Havelaar Fr
- Ecocert

Version: 1.0
(mai, 2008)

YNW’s experience in Fair Trade…

Confronted for several years by the lack of a worthwhile market for the organic cotton, Pronat oriented the Federation towards fair trade which seemed to offer new possibilities. The FLO system (Max Havelaar) offers a better price than the conventional market, but also presents several limitations for a grassroots organisation:

  • The costs of certification are high and therefore difficult for small organisations to pay
  • The farmer does not receive any money in advance while farming, and payment for cotton is received by the producers a long time after the sale is agreed (the Federation received payment for the 2005 production in February 2007)
  • The commercial circuit of the product is not communicated to the producer, who has no idea of the profits made by intermediaries
  • Although the use of the social premium is not officially dictated in the standards, it ends up being when FLO suggests that the Federation use it to pay the costs of certification
  • FLO-cert certifies the product, not the organisation or the processing chain, which favours exportation of raw materials to the detriment of local processing. In Koussanar, the body certifies only the cotton instead of considering all the raw and processed products of the Federation as fair trade. However it is the process that is fair and not the product.
  • The price fixed by FLO-cert for the raw cotton does not take into account the costs of monitoring and certification which are paid for by the Federation. In a system in which the Federation must obligatorily sell its cotton to the national cotton processing company (since it has not received prefunding to pay for ginning itself), the profit margin reserved for supervision is paid to the company which sells the fibre
  • The requirements of certification (based on concepts developed in the North) are not always adapted to the African socio-economic context. FLO-cert requires the Federation, 95% of which is made up of illiterate members, to ensure that each group provides documentation proving the democratic and fair functioning of the organisation.
  • No international norms exist for fair trade, and we therefore find different conditions of contract according to the certification body. For example, in Koussanar the fonio is certified organic and fair trade by ECOCERT, the main criticism of which is that fair trade rules are not applied to the French company which buys the production (pricing structure not shared, packaging does not state correct country of origin, false publicity…) This further demonstrates the power relations between North and South. Finally, the relationship between the Federation and this company came to an end due to the drop in production levels of fonio.
  • However, despite all these difficulties, Yakaar Niani Wulli’s activities in fair trade, begun in 2004, have had a positive impact on its social organisation.

    1.The Federation has obtained legal recognition as an association

    2.It now functions in a very democratic manner, with a strong decision-making body

    3.Buying from farmers is now done in a very transparent way

    4.All the activities of the executive body are documented1.

    The Yakaar Niani Wulli Federation is the first association (since 2006) in Senegal to produce organic fair trade cotton!

    For over a year, Enda, with other partners, has been working on setting up a less expensive certification system, better adapted to African realities. Several workshops have brought together producers and processers from different sectors (food processing, arts and crafts, herbal medicine) to work on developing a chart for fair trade actors, based on a platform of Senegalese values. This chart has been validated at national level, and presented to other African countries during the SIAO and the last Nairobi summit (November 2006).