Aidenvironment Conducted a Baseline Study for Fairtrade in the West African Cotton Sector
Aidenvironment conducted a baseline study for Fairtrade International in the West African cotton sector. This study permits Fairtrade to obtain a clear understanding of current practices in the field and also provides an outlook to its future impact.
Fairtrade developed a Theory of Change that describes at a strategic level how it aims to realize its goal of making trade more fair. For this baseline study and based on this theory of change, Aidenvironment defined more specific impact pathways that show how Fairtrade intends to improve farm performance, market access and strong and inclusive producer organizations. These pathways enabled us to focus the baseline study at the issues that matter most in order to realize improvements. We gathered data from 264 farmers and 47 producer organizations among Fairtrade certified, Fairtrade and Organic certified and non-certified farmers as well as smallholder producer organizations in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. Apart from setting a baseline, the study enabled us to assess farmer satisfaction and Fairtrade’s impacts. For instance, a significant finding was that farmers selling under Fairtrade conditions could receive between 8 and 18 percent above the conventional price (and farmers selling under Fairtrade Organic conditions between 27 and 60 percent more). However, due to lack of market uptake, many farmers and SPOs did not receive these benefits. Findings were analyzed and recommendations were provided to further increase farm performance, find new markets and sales channels and build strong producer organizations.
Fairtrade welcomed the data set and insights that were generated by the study, which has also assisted them to identify what works best and what are remaining areas for improvement.