A call for inclusive and sustainable trade and value chains

July 5, 2024

Photo: A photo of Cocoa and Palm oil farmers during a campaign to raise awareness of the forestry code and access to land for women in Cote D' Ivoire

As African countries continue to grapple with various challenges, among them gender inequality, poor working conditions, illegal mining, low farm produce prices, the presence of uncertified seeds, and gender-based violence in global value chains, civil society organizations (CSOs) have remained firm in their fight to address injustice and advocate for fair value and decent work for all producers, including women and young people. 

In 2023, TrustAfrica made significant strides in strengthening national and regional multistakeholder dialogue platforms, enhancing advocacy, and negotiating capacities of civil society as well calling for fair value and decent working conditions for farmers/workers and pushing for gender sensitive policies in value chains and trade. 

The advocacy work involved gender training, capacity building forums, establishment of new associations and media campaigns. 

The collective successes achieved in 2023 are part of our goal to amplify the voices of farmers, miners, workers, and citizens including women and youth, and ensure that their needs and interests are well represented in policy and decision-making processes. 

In Sierra Leone, we ran a campaign in collaboration with SEND Sierra Leone and Women in Media to raise awareness on Customary Land Act, Land Act and Women Empowerment Act. 

The campaign was meant to advocate for women land rights and a 30% women representation in community land committees. 

The aim was to empower women, youth, farmers, cooperatives, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) by promoting inclusive and sustainable land rights and enable their participation in decision-making processes related to using natural resources, fair value distribution and decent work 

In Ghana, TrustAfrica in collaboration with JoyNews TV and Radio published the ‘Poisoned for Gold,’ documentary that exposes how irresponsible mining is affecting the livelihoods of hundreds of citizens including unborn children. 

The purpose for the campaign was to raise awareness and mobilize local communities to advocate for safer mining practices.  

The documentary was also meant to pressure policymakers to enforce regulations, promote mercury-free mining alternatives, and encourage mining companies to adopt eco-friendly mining practices.  

Photo:  A photo of Artisanal small-scale workers mining in Ghana

 

Further, initiatives in Cote d’Ivoire aimed at empowering farmers’ cooperatives and women to advocate for improved policies and working conditions, resulting in two recommendations submitted to the Institute of Surveyors and Agence Foncière Rurale (AFOR).  

We worked in collaboration with the Cotton and Tea smallholder farmers Associations in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia to raise awareness, promote best practice and safeguarding farmers’ needs in pricing that is fair and sustainable.  

At a regional level, TrustAfrica catalyzed the revival of a regional Cotton multistakeholder platform –Eastern and Southern Cotton Farmers Organization (ESACO) which provides a platform for knowledge sharing and organized voice to influence regional agendas. The workshop that brought together 35 participants from Eastern and Southern Africa countries- Zambia, Mozambique, and Ethiopia provided a platform where Cotton value chain actors got a chance to reflect on the position and influence of their coordinated efforts in improving the inclusivity and sustainability performance of the Cotton sector. The ESACO interim leadership has begun international advocacy and networking through participation in the international Cotton Advisory Committe (ICAC) 

Photo: TrustAfrica and partners during the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Cotton Multistakeholder workshop convened in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2023 

In Malawi, in collaboration with the Plantations and Workers Union (PAWU), the Tea industry renewed its commitments in the Common Bargaining Agreement and raised worker wages by 26%. Through the Tea Association of Malawi, a Tea Industry-Government dialogue mechanism has been maintained, through which policy and related challenges facing the tea sector are debated and resolved. In a quest for fair tea pricing, strengthened capacities for smallholder tea producers in negotiations led to a 51% price increase.  

In Zambia, collective efforts through the MSP have led to progress in the review of the 2005 Cotton Act. The commemoration event on 2023 World Cotton Day and the resultant documentary raised public awareness and action. 

Photo: TrustAfrica and partners during the world cotton day in Zambia

In Mozambique, the Cotton Farmers Association (FONPA) developed pricing positions and engaged with Government resulting in a price cushioning mechanism amidst global price drops.  

In Uganda, together with our partners Solidaridad EastAfrica, we worked with the Uganda Tea Out Growers’ Association (UTOA) to launch the Women chapter. This is intended to ensure that women are visible in decision-making spaces and that their experiences are shared, and voices heard to promote meaningful participation in leadership and governance. Through our collaboration, we trained over 50 women from Uganda’s tea growing areas. The aim was to enhance the capacity of the women to adopt and integrate gender equity and feminist approaches to their work and participation in Association governance. As a result of transformative feminist leadership and governance training, they submitted policy recommendations into the national tea policy validation process. 

Photo: UTOA Women leaders during gender training in Kampala, Uganda in July 2023 

A national stakeholder’s forum that brought together government officials, tea farmers, traders, producers and CSO’s was also held in Kampala, Uganda to review and validate the current edition of the draft Comprehensive Tea Policy.  

Photo: TrustAfrica and the Uganda tea stakeholders during the National validation meeting in July 202

We also convened a tea multi-stakeholder forum in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the formation of a Kenya Tea Association that will foster the tea industry in the country.  The association will ensure farmers speak in one voice. 

A team comprising of farmers, producers and traders’ representatives was selected and given a mandate to spearhead the formation of the association. 

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