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West Africa : Encouraging the consumption of local products

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West Africa : Encouraging the consumption of local products

In West Africa, promoting the consumption of local products is crucial for strengthening the economy and ensuring food security. Local initiatives and support from programs like Pafao play a key role in this process.

Initiatives to promote the consumption of local products in West Africa

Consuming local products boosts the regional economy by creating jobs and supporting the development of local businesses.

Role of Pafao

Since 2009, Pafao has supported over 220 projects in collaboration with the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations of West Africa (Roppa). During an international seminar in Paris, discussions focused on the ability of local products to move beyond niche markets and access mass markets. This event allowed for the exchange of experiences regarding family farming and domestic markets.

Distribution centers

OADEL, an organization in Togo, has set up a local product distribution center in Lomé. However, after five years of operation, the center remains modest and needs to rethink its business plan. This initiative highlights the importance of a structured distribution network to make local products accessible to consumers.

ESOPs in Togo

The Service Enterprises and Producer Organizations (ESOP) are multi-stakeholder organizations involving producers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders. In Togo, 26,000 producers are involved in 9 different sectors, generating nearly 16 million USD in revenue. These structures succeed in overcoming the low capitalization of farmers by including them in profitable enterprises.

Consumption of local products in Africa : Challenges to overcome

The consumption of local products in Africa faces various challenges, including :

  • Low processing capacity
  • Lack of certification standards
  • Technical obstacles such as hygiene and product quality

These challenges often hinder the growth of local food industries and compromise the economic viability of farmers and local producers.

Processing local products

Processing remains a weak link, attracting too few actors and investors. It’s crucial to modernize processing equipment to improve product quality. One major obstacle is the lack of appropriate packaging at acceptable costs.

Certification and product quality

Karfa Diallo of Enda Pronat in Senegal highlights the absence of certification standards. Enda Pronat supports farmer organizations in agroecological vegetable production with the Safe and Sustainable Agriculture (ASD) label. Rigorous certification and support for the use of organic inputs are necessary to ensure product quality.

Technical challenges

Sanitary quality is a major challenge. Improving hygiene practices and ensuring high-quality raw materials are essential to meet consumer expectations and minimize risks. Additionally, adopting improved technologies can reduce the difficulty of operations and introduce innovations.

Public policies and institutional support

Public policies and institutional support are essential to stimulate the development of local food industries in Africa.

Limiting imported products

Edgard Maxime Déguénon, the coordinator of the NGO Hortitechs in Benin, criticizes the use of imported products in institutional canteens despite investments in local production. He suggests setting a percentage of local product purchases in public catering budgets.

Christophe Brisme of SOS Faim emphasizes the importance of limiting the import of subsidized Asian rice. He recommends advocating at the sub-regional level with UEMOA and ECOWAS to coordinate local production and imports.

Facilitating access to credit

Access to credit for agro-food processing activities is a central challenge. Bank offers are not suited to the needs of micro and small agro-food enterprises (MPEA). A guarantee fund could be established to overcome the difficulty of agricultural financing.

Improving storage infrastructure

Storing raw materials and processed products requires specific infrastructure. Most women processors store their raw materials at home, which limits their ability to manage their stocks effectively.

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