During a webinar organised by Inter-réseaux on 10 September 2021, three dairies talked about their experiences partnering with dairy farmers: the Banfora mini-dairy in Burkina Faso; the industrial dairy TIVISKI in Mauritania; and the Senegalese group Kirène, which is a franchise of the French cooperative Sodiaal. While they all face common challenges and share common values, each dairy has set up unique solutions that are specifically tailored to their environment. Here are three complementary initiatives that have sparked innovation for the development of the value chain at regional level.

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Editorial : Partnerships between farmers and businesses are essential to food systems
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Farmers and businesses (both upstream and downstream) all have a role to play in transforming food systems. They help structure value chains and develop sectors, each at their own level and according to their own area of expertise, size, influence and resources. They are drivers of development in their respective local areas, countries and regions. How do they team up with one another? What are the challenges and opportunities for farmers’ organisations and their members when it comes…

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Lead-In : What impact do partnerships between farmers and businesses have on the sustainability of food systems?

The aim of this introductory section is to provide general information on the functioning of food systems and the partnerships between producers and companies within the sectors.

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Food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: overview and specific features
Astou Diao Camara, Nicolas Bricas, Ninon Sirdey

Food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa are highly diversified at all levels, from production and processing, to distribution. Despite an increase in imports for certain products, those systems satisfy the lion’s share of internal demand and are one of the largest sources of jobs and income for a major part of the population. What are the specific features of these food systems? Under what conditions can they help achieve more equitable and sustainable development?

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Food systems don’t exist!
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The term “food system” is a convenient way of referring to all the actors and processes directly or indirectly related to feeding people – which could potentially include all of society! While the term is useful in that it reminds us of what these systems are trying to achieve, it must not lead us to believe that their driving forces are internal.

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Should crop and livestock farmers be included in the definition of “private sector”?

According to the FAO (2021), the definition of “private sector” includes a broad array of people engaged in agriculture, fishing and livestock farming, as well as their organisations, cooperatives, businesses (from micro-enterprises to multinationals) and philanthropic foundations. Professional and interprofessional associations are also sometimes considered as belonging to the private sector, as are certain NGOs serving as investors. This all-embracing term has been the source of much debate. Some people say farmers should be recognised as full-fledged economic…

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The concept of “private sector” covers a broad array of actors and businesses

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Local and international partnerships for local dairy value chains

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How is fair trade helping make local food systems in West Africa more sustainable?
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Against a backdrop of social and economic inequality and environmental imbalances exacerbated by globalised trade, fair trade has positioned itself as a particularly well-developed model for contract farming. What are the requirements for certification and what dynamics does it create?

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Promising partnerships in the infant-flour sector: the story of Misola
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Les Potagers du Bandama: a social enterprise in Ivory Coast
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Les Potagers du Bandama is a social enterprise founded by an NGO called the European Institute for Cooperation and Development (Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement, or “IECD”). The enterprise sells the production of its network of market gardeners through direct sales, and through large and mid-size distributors. Quentin de Villechabrolle discusses the history of the project and the challenges faced.

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Cameroon’s poultry sector is counting on state support to reduce its dependence on key imported inputs
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Cameroon’s poultry sector owes its survival to the country’s ban on imported poultry cuts, decided by public authorities in 2005. But a resurgence of bird-flu outbreaks since 2016 has weakened and disorganised the sector, which is still dependent on imported chicks and hatching eggs.

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Supranational regulation and liberalisation: frameworks disadvantageous to African agriculture?
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It appears to be widely accepted that the private sector has made positive contributions to agricultural development. But Alhousseini Diabaté and Ibrahim Diori, lecturer/researcher and human-rights activist, respectively, denounce the consequences of the predatory neoliberal framework imposed by international and regional regulatory frameworks.

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Partnership between farmers’ organisations and joint local authority groups for the livestock-meat sector in northern Benin
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Agro-Industry Fund: facilitating the mobilisation of private funding by SMEs in Burkina Faso
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Sub-Saharan Africa: a battleground for Western brewing companies
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Partnership between CGA and EAML in Kenya: an example to follow?
Alexandra Quet -Viéville, Inter-réseaux

Partnerships between farmers and brewing companies create challenges, risks and opportunities for both parties, from competition with food crops and impact on food security and sustainability, to empowering farmers and developing local value chains and models of governance. An example from Kenya.

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How are partnerships between farmers and businesses contributing to the sustainability of the food system in West Africa?
Bio Goura Soulé, Jean-Philippe Audinet, Sidy Ba

What connections, rivalries or synergies unite farmers, farmers’ organisations and formal companies within food systems? What types of support already exist or should exist in West Africa in order to promote synergies in partnerships between these different actors?

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We worked closely with our members to produce this issue of the magazine. Some of those members have direct experience in areas such as food systems and partnerships between farmers and businesses. For instance, AVSF (pp. 16-17), Fert (p. 35), Gret (pp. 18-19) and Saild (pp. 26-27) all made contributions to different articles in this issue.

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This issue of Grain de Sel was the fruit of a long-term group effort!

Issue no. 81 of Grain de Sel is part of the thematic cycle on the “private sector”, coordinated by Inter-réseaux since 2017. The team effort that went into producing this issue of the magazine made it possible to showcase work and ideas that have been developed over the long term, and to mobilise a diverse range of actors involved in the thematic cycle on the “private sector”.

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