Global Gathering 2020 - Day 5 - OFN's Role in Global Trade

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What is the purpose of this session?

Exploring to what extent OFN can help build global trade as a force for good

Who is facilitating? Rafat Ahmed

Who is scribing? Gen


Rafat introduces the Intro from Rafat

Cobi explains Trade in Africa

Alex introduces Sail Cargo Alliance

Sadati Kizito responds to some questions from the Ugandan perspective

Detailed notes:

Intro from Rafat

  • Most of the countries with strategic crops have OFN instances
  • Small-scale farmers lacking support to help them stay with their farms
  • Cobi asks about how OFN can be fair - choosing to work with those who need most support. Rafat agrees, we want to support the smaller farmers.
  • Small-and-medium enterprises bundled together in the literature.

Trade in Africa From Cobi

  • How many products in our supermarkets are from companies based in the Global South? Delmonte, not much else…
  • Cobi supports 368 farmers in north-east Nigeria - focused on increasing revenues for these farmers
  • Difficulty of dealing with the global market given the bad reputation of Nigerian produce. Difficulty of opening bank accounts due to rurality, lack of financial infrastructure. Risk that rushing changes will further entrench problematic power relations (e.g. village leaders)

Sail Cargo Alliance (CIC) from Alex

  • The sailing ship is the easiest part. The hard part is understanding the bureaucracy, legal mechanisms, admin of moving products across borders
  • Started out importing rum from the Caribbean, as this made sense as a high value product that could travel well
  • But this made for a very expensive end product, serving only a very wealth niche market - Alex had to change tack to serve the communities she wanted to
  • Caribbean trip can only happen once a year - means fewer opportunities for iterative learning
  • Olive oil from southern Europe, more frequent trips, greater learning, tighter connection between quality of product and quality of farming
  • Customers pay in advance and wait for their products to ship - more acceptable to consumers these days
  • Alex is a broker who ensures quality throughout the chain - zero compromise on earth care, people care
  • Supply chain: farmer - ship - port ally - customer. All organized through the same Whatsapp group - every element is open and collaborative. Builds trust in the system. Shared marketing assets etc.
  • OFN great for managing money, stock, reaching customers
  • System designed from ship outward - so where the ship can travel determines the markets served - retracing historical trade routes because working with wind patterns

Sadati Kizito (Uganda, coffee)

  • Sadati Kizito responds to Eriol’s question: “I wonder if something I heard about in Kenya and Uganda is similar in Nigeria, in that some of the people that are ‘middle class’ in Nairobi and Kampala also own farms ‘back home’ and they hire a manager that is local. I wonder how that chain affects how goods move around”
  • Sadati: Wants to help local farmers as they are exploited by middle men. Farmers are exploited due to high unemployment - few other options. Great corruption issues. Government monopolizes exports (e.g. 1 government worker controls all animal hide exports). Use of animal disease quarantines to dominate markets.
  • Discussion of social media laws - tax applied to use of Facebook, etc. Limits young farmers’ access to social media for political organizing
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