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010 tangem

  1. 1. Linking Mini, Small and Medium Forest Enterprises to Market and Service:Case of Tree AIDs Market Information System in Tominian Northern Region of Mali Elvis Paul Nfor Tangem Value Chains Development Manager TREE AID Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Email: elvis.tangem@treeaid.org.uk Tony Hill & Yacouba OuedraogoInformation technology and communication development have proven to be a ‘break through’ forfacilitating markets and market linkages even for the most neglected and underutilized products likethe case of non timber forest products. The Non Timber Forest Products Sector is one of theprincipal source of natural resources for livelihood and income generation for more than 40 millionpeople in Africa especially during lean periods. Despite this importance, the sector is neglected byState and private sector actors. In an attempt to redress the situation, Tree Aid West Africa withSahel Eco Mali set up a Market Information System to link producers to buyers and consumersthrough the use of mobile phones, community FMs stations and state radio. After two years, theresults have been very positive. Over five producers have had steady markets, improved qualityand increased quantity, better prices and profits and improved livelihood.Main words : NTFPs ,income,markets, Enterprises, Markets, information , profits, livelihood. 1. INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTVESThis paper, describe an activity undertaken within the framwork of the activities of TREE AIDUK in collaboration with SAHEL ECO Mali In the Northern Mali, within the framwork of theproject ‘ Village Tree Enterprise project in Tominian region.The aim of the project is to supportsustainable forest resource management, develop sustainable forest enterprise sector forimproved livelihood and conservation and shift min set in business approaches. The projectused the Market analysis and Development approach to build and support Mini, Small, andMedium forest Entrepreneurs involved in the collection, production, transformation andmarketing of Non Wood forest Products face a number of challenges in undertaking theiractivities. The challenges is generally linked to insufficiencies and in must cases lack of 1
  2. 2. verifiable market information linking production basins which are generally far off rural areas(supply zone) to urban centres where the market demand exists and amongst the Actorsthemselves. FAO Forest connect 2010. The NTFPs market is generally characterised by anunstructured market chain with gaps in price between production basins and urban markets.The market information is lacking both for the producers who seek markets for their produceand for traders interested in acquiring bulk quantities of supplies. This situation leads to manyconstraints like lack of equity in the NTFPs market, discrimination, small scale and informalsales, dominant intermediaries, lack of market outlets, volatile prices, and lack of informationthat can link supply to demand. These constraints contribute to the so-called poverty trap andhave resulted in the generally unfair prices offered to villagers, especially the very ruralproducers. Furthermore, the situation also leads to the minimisation of the contribution of thesector to the National economy and thus neglects from the State agencies, Businessdevelopment and financial services, a major hindrance to the development of the entire sector.Other challenges facing exploitation of NTFPs in Mali include lack of an appropriate mechanismlinking demand of markets to supply of production basins; producers are generally ignorant ofmarket prices of the products, causing enormous income loss. Beyond this is a legal frameworkthat is not conducive to the Actors. These constraints contribute to the so-called poverty trapand have resulted in the generally unfair prices offered to producers. From 2005, TREE AIDhave been intervening to improve these business through the value chain developmentapproach. Through FAO’s1 market Analysis and Development process, the business andcapacity of the Actors were strengthened. The Market Analysis and development processinvolve, analysing local potentials, markets, Actors, business and socio cultural environment,leading to the production of a business plan or enterprise development plans. Through thisparticipatory process, Actors identify potential resources in their communities, the markets,Actors involve in promoting the produce, and other Actors involve in the exploitation of theproduce and also provided with trainings on sustainability and gender. After the various capacitybuilding on business development, one challenge was identified, the poor market network andinformation flow that can enable effective marketing and feedback between Producers andmarkets.To resolve the persistent challenges of marketing, TREE AID, Sahel Eco designed andfacilitated the implementation of a community radio based Market Information System (MIS) withlocal actors, the aim of the Market information system is to in linking Producers to Markets andbuilding a ‘win-win’ relationship between the Actors in the NTFPs2 value chains in general.allowing a permanent contact between producers and wholesalers and reducing excessive pricevariations. As a result of this initiative, the market is opening up and Producers are now moreequal business partners in the NTFP value chain. Through the initiative, NTFP traders wereable to capture new production zones, save enormously on time and transport costs and alsopartner directly with producers in a transparent way1 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the united Nations2 Non Timber Forest Products 2
  3. 3. 2. METHODS, TOOLS AND APPROACHES2.1 TREEAID’s interventionTo establish a baseline, using the Market Analysis and Development approach of the FAO,TREE AID and Sahel Eco conducted an assessment of household financial needs and gapsexisting to establish the financial need of the selected household. The profile of the inhabitantsin the communities were also undertaken to determine the level of Poverty and the contributionthat NTFPs can play in the household incomes. After this stage, initial mapping of the entireNTFPs value chains commercially viable and its various actors intervening from the producers/Collectors to the Buyers, Transporters, wholesalers and exporters, government officials andpotential finance institutions and BDS3 that support the chain. The next stage was to look at themarkets, socio cultural and technological environment around the selected NTFPs. After allthese analysis, the Actors where selected and advice to form groups according to theirintervention areas, i.e. the produce in which they exploit and the level of exploitation in the valuechain, Collector/Producer, Transformation, Commercialisation, Exporter and so on. Analyses of the above data collected showed that 70% of those involved in the Production andmarketing of the NTFPs were in the rural areas were Women , they undertake the collection /picking of the products after which they undertake semi Transformations and marketing in thevillage markets. These Women undertake all the production and transformation process byhand , individually and sell at any price. Market agents from urban areas and Village bulkBuyers determine the selling price. The quality is general poor and the Women lack the capacityto improve on their products. Money obtained from the sell of these products are very importantfor the family subsistence and general expenditure sometimes constituting between 30 to 90 %of household income2.2 Action by TREE AID and Sahel EcoTREE AID and Co, introduce the MIS 4 in order to link Production to Market through affordableand simple means. To do this, activitiess were undertaken aimed first at improving theproduction system and to facilitate an equitable market access through mobile phone, internetcommercial FMs and community radio based market information system. Activities wereundertaken with key actors of the chain in order to introduce the aspect of equity into the chainand enable producers to have better market access and benefit sharing mechanism. After theestablishment of the MIS, another challenge cropped up, i.e. the quantity and quality of theproduce and respond to feedback from the markets. In order to improve quality and increasequantity to respond to the increasing demand due to the effectiveness of the radio, technicaltrainings and business development skills and group dynamics were undertaken intransforming to about 800 Beneficiaries, constituting 48 Groups in 16 communities, involved inover 6 products (honey, Shea nuts and butter, parkia biglobosa, baobab tree products, tamarindmedicinal plants, etc…)2.3 Methodology and approach used for the Market Information System .3 Business Development Services4 Market Information System 3
  4. 4. Results from analysis of the Market Analysis and development process clearly showed thatverifiable market information to enable Actors (Producers and those involved in transformationand Market agents and Bulk buyers) undertake appropriate business decisions and plan wasalmost completely lacking especially in the rural areas ( Production zones) . thus the idea to setup and implement a Market information System. To the develop the system, TREE and SahelEco, chose a participatory approach. Wide concertation through focus groups discussion forumsand workshops was undertaken with the objective of having a consensus and same level ofunderstanding on the system. This exercise was undertaken with all Actors involved in themarket chain including the media and urban Traders and transporter. At the end of the exercise,a simple system was widely agreed upon.2.3.1 : Northern Mali NTFPs Market Information System.To develop the system, a series of conThe MIS will consist of modern Information andCommunication Technology (Internet and mobile phones) traditional communicationapproaches (FM radio and News papers) and indigenous system (ear to mouth) andEnumerators or Data Collectors. After designing the functioning structure of the MIS, modelwas presented to various stakeholders of the NTFP value chain: traders, producers, localNGOs, partners and state agents. The model was then validated in a workshop, the focal pointswere selected and the information transmission mechanisms clarified. The data collection toolswere also validated by the focal points. Community radios members gathered together in orderto harmonise their broadcast format for the MIS. An Adviser from Sahel Eco was put in chargefor the day to day follow up of the collection of NTFPs and the connection to the MIS. On the jobtraining was carried out with all the members of the associations, Journalist from three FMsstations and a weekly news paper and additional management tools were developed. MIS TREE AID & Sahel Eco model Producteur (zone Demande Production) (Marché PFNL) Point Focal (supply) Point focale Central SAHEL ECO Médias (Presse audio et écri Radio / FMD1 : Diagrammatic presentation of the MIS model 4
  5. 5. 2.3.2 Functioning of the MISThe market information system (MIS) is based on prompt interaction and information flow atvarious levels. As the diagram portrays. Eight Trained Enumerators get information from groupsmembers at designated points in the production communities on pre established tables, usingtheir mobile phones; these information is send to a Focal person through SMS services. TheFocal person input the data collected into pre established collection tables, verify theinformation, analyses and send to four FM radio stations and a weekly news paper frombroadcasting. The data is broad cased in the local Djoulla / Bambara and French languages atprime time, The FMs stations diffuse the information three times a week. For the demand side,those in need of the products have three possibilities, contact the local radio station, get to theFocal point, or get to the Producer direct. Information diffused includes the Product, quality,state, quantity, price offered, the Producers, their names, communities and contacts. On theother end, focal points for demand covering the various market areas collect information on thedemand of wholesalers (quantity, quality, prices and contact number). This information is alsocollated and sent to the FMs radios. Other important informations relating to the project activitiesand markets are also diffused.3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONDescribe results (what happened/changed) and impact of interventions and lessonslearned. Reserve interpretations, speculations and conclusions for the next section.3.1 The outcomeTREE AID and Sahel Eco have strengthened the capacity of the members of the 48 enterpriseassociations by developing management tools (stock keeping, monitoring forms for salescampaigns, revolving fund management, and book-keeping) that they are now using to followthe NTFP campaign from the production, the evaluation of quantities, and the withdrawal offunds from their bank account for the wholesale. Producers are able to contact wholesalerswhenever they have gathered sufficient quantities of products without passing through anintermediary and they are now also aware of the NTFP market trends. The sensitisation ofproducers in 16 villages (+1500 people) enabled them to understand the importance of groupedsales and people are more ready to harvest new products demanded by the market. With theMIS, the groups are more solid as selling prices of products have witnesses upward trends.3.2 Impact of the MISThe system have general positive results on establishing market linkages amongst the variousActors and giving them more choice on selling and availability of produce. The Producers whohitherto had very little choice as to whom to sell their produce and end up selling at very lowprices now have the power to choose where, when and who to sell their produce to.Producers are able for the first time to carry out wholesales of NTFP at equitable prices (farexceeding traditional retail prices) by posting their production on the MIS radio system. 5
  6. 6. 1. On the entreprises : The information diffuse by MIS  The Rural Village tree Entrepreneurs have increased their business turn over and made new clientele.. A litre of honey hitherto solda t 500 F CFA has increased to between 1750 FCFA – 2000 FCA also a kg of shea butter has moved from 350 FCFA to 1000 FCFA market prices.  The Whole sellers and Bulk Buyers says, they are now getting better quality products and in time.  The Producers easily get feedback on the quality and quantity of their produce and can react to the taste of the Buyers and Consummers.  Many of the Producers who will end at the level of collection and selling of the produces are now involve in value addtion activities. Produits unité quantity PU MontantShea nuts kg 6 422 250 1 605 500Shea butter kg 1 060 1 000 1 060 000 Néré Grains (Parkia kg 550 550 302 500biglobossaseeds)Honey Litre 940 1 750 1 645 000TOTAL business turn over 4 613 000Table i : sells in some products three months into the MIS Produits unité quantity PU Montant 1500000Shea nuts kg 3000 50 175000Shea butter kg 500 350 Néré Grains ( 87500Parkia kg 350 250biglobossaseeds) 150000Honey Litre 300 500 1912500 Total business turn over for the period.Table II: sells in similar product before the implementation of the MIS 6
  7. 7. 4.CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONSIts been a year since the Market Information System was launched, results and impact from thepilot evaluation showed a very positive results and an activity that was programmed for amaximum of six months is now going to more than a year and have attacted the attention ofmany other development Actors and the state of Mali. Current , the WWW Foundation andEuropean union, Sahel Eco and TREE AID are developing a new project for the way forward ofthe MIS named ‘ VOICES’ to be launched in the month of November 2011. This is going to be amore sophisticated and technologically advanced form of Market information system. Thecurrent system is a bit labour intensive and requires relatively high level of literacy, not veryavailable in these rural areas. Furthermore, the system requires sending of sms code, a bit toosophisiticated for the local Producers.The Primary Beneficiaries, affirms that the introduction of MIS in their area is a life changingexperience,Despite the success registered in the implementation of the MIS in TOminian, alot need to bedone at the level of preparatory cost, implementing such an activity necessitate alot ofresources that will hardly be self sustaining without external intervention. Also the apparent lackof interest in the whole exercise by the state agents and local administrative authorities putdoubts as to the sustainability of the system.The lessons learnedViable, prompt market and technical information is one of the key to successful improvement inlivelihood and food security in Africa . Information offers more than just good profits and yieldsand better products, it offers the ability to make choices to the Actors, choices on who to sell toand not to sell, choices on when to sell and where. Another important lesson market informationis an effective entry point for empowerment for marginalized and vulnerable groups in a valuechain and for neglected and underutilised Products. Another lesson is that working with variousactors at different levels of the value chain rather than isolated actors creates opportunities foreach actor and develops the entire NTFP value chain. Further lessons, the need to getBeneficiaries involved when developing a tool that will involve them, the Actors, today ‘own’ theMIS in Tominian and are ready to contribute an amount for the process to go on. Also the needto complete and compliment tools and approaches. 8. Références  Rapport mid parcours des activités de SIM Tominian pilote ; Amadou Tangara, Sahel Eco antenne Tominian. ( 2010)  Rapport , Impactes de systemes d’information de marche mise en eouvre par ONG TREE AID et Sahel Eco : Amadou T et Elvis Paul. ( 2011)  FAO Market information Systems.http://www.fao.org/docrep/W3241E/w3241e0a.htm  Marketing information systems for non-timber forest products Community Forestry Field Manual n.6 CTA  7
  8. 8.  Système d’information sur les marchés des produits forestiers non ligneux au Sud Cameroun : Fidele Mekongo, Raoul Ngueko : June 2008  Atelier d’harmonisation et de lancement du système d’information sur les marchés des PFNL au Sud Cameroun : rapport final Septembre 2008 Rapport d’évaluation de la première phase du système d’information des marchés des PFNL Système d’information sur les marchés des produits forestiers non ligneux : Rapport des ateliers de lancement de la deuxième phase : Raoul Ngueko SNV Cameroon ; Février 2009 Mobilisation et renforcement des capacités des petites et moyennes entreprises impliquées dans les filières des produits forestiers non ligneux en Afrique Centrale Appropriate technology, volume 38, No.3 (2011) Ajaga N. (2004) why poor people remain poor ( Descholar press) Non-Wood Forest Products for rural income and sustainable forestry FAO (2005) 8