Value Chain Supporters from over 10 countries gather for exchange in Nepal
Worldwide demand for organic and fair trade products is growing. How can smallholders in Asia and Africa access these markets and earn a fair income? In November 2010, practitioners from over 10 Asian and some African countries gathered in Nepal to learn about the development of organic and fair trade value chains, and to expand their networks.
How to initiate and develop organic cotton production and marketing? What should be the role of NGOs? How to analyze the entire value chain; who plays which role and who adds which value? Which information should be part of a bankable business plan of a producer organization? These and many other questions were discussed with the aim to equip practitioners with knowledge, tools and solutions for practical challenges in the development of pro-poor Organic and Fair trade value chains.
Helvetas and FSAS (Fair and Sustainable Advisory Services) facilitated the workshop with financial support from SECO (Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) and ICCO (Dutch Interchurch organization for development cooperation). Thirty five key value chain actors, supporters and certifiers from India, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and other countries came together.
Through four real life cases from Kyrgyzstan (cotton), Ethiopia (teff), India (cashew) and Philippines (muscovado sugar), methods for amongst others value chain mapping, competitive advantage and marketing planning were introduced, experiences were shared and methods practiced. The workshop showed that there is great demand for exchange and learning of practical ways to analyze new opportunities and develop value chains in which each actor gains a fair income. Only after a good analysis of the value chain, and of the role of its actors and supporters, it becomes clear which interventions are most rewarding, such as the strengthening of producer organizations, developing internal control systems, or other measures.
During the last workshop day a ‘business game’ was played, in which two teams ran an enterprise and were confronted with all kinds of real life opportunities and challenges. The discussion within and between teams to find satisfactory solutions proved an inspiring learning ground for the participants.
All experiences, conclusions and methods introduced and practiced are documented on the OFTVC-wiki. Included are follow-up action plans from the participants to jointly continue learning, exploring and building sustainable organic & fair trade value chains.