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  • Land restoration to enhance gender equality in Burkina Faso

Land restoration to enhance gender equality in Burkina Faso

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Widows who are members of a women’s self-help group have been allocated collective land to improve their livelihoods. Photo by Marlène Elias/Bioversity International

Not all farmers are able to adopt or benefit from landscape restoration practices equally. A research initiative highlights how inclusive initiatives have the potential to improve both the environment and the lives of women and their communities.

Gender disparity in landscape restoration 

Amid degradation of their natural resources, farmers in Burkina Faso’s Oubritenga province, in the country’s central Plateau, are adopting various practices to restore their lands. Landscape restoration enhances soil fertility and facilitates the establishment of trees that can provide benefits for human well-being as well as the environment.

The techniques include the creation of stone barriers to slow water flow and prevent runoff, agroforestry techniques, assisted natural regeneration of valued trees in fields, and the creation of small zaï pits to retain water and soil nutrients for crop growth. The problem is that not all farmers are able to adopt or benefit from these practices equally.

New research conducted by Master’s students from the University of Ouagadougou cosupervised by Bioversity International and other partners from Burkina Faso considers the various barriers women face in restoring their lands and landscapes to support their equitable participation in restoration initiatives for the benefit of the entire community.

Entrenched gender norms make it difficult for women to obtain the same opportunities as men to implement restoration practices. Gender plays an important role in determining who does what, who makes decisions, and who has access to resources and other assets, including benefits from restoration initiatives. Gender, however, is not the sole factor that determines who will implement and potentially benefit from landscape restoration practices. Whether a woman is married, where her husband resides, whether her husband has allocated her plots that are large enough to adopt agroforestry practices, and even whether the woman has adult male children can all greatly influence the probability of a woman implementing restoration practices and gaining some of the benefits.

In the study sites, farmers need to vouch for each other and women tend not to be considered eligible participants. Yet, not all women face the same exclusions. Women farmers who have a male head present in their household may be considered eligible, and can obtain access to material and financial resources, as well as training to apply restoration practices. This means that, unless they have an adult son, widows and wives of migrated husbands are particularly disadvantaged.

Read more: Gender at the center of Bioversity International’s research

Zai pits are dug to improve soil fertility and water retention. Credit: Adidjata Ouédraogo/Université de Ouagadougou

Inclusive initiatives go beyond trees

By studying the approach of Association Tiipaalga – an NGO that has been supporting restoration in the country since 2006 – Master’s students from the University of Ouagadougou are identifying good practices from restoration initiatives trying to promote gender equality. The NGO is working to secure access to land for women’s self-help groups, composed primarily of widows and young women. It is helping these groups fence off their land to promote natural regeneration and plant certain species of trees and crops that can offer the women income-generating opportunities.

Moreover, it is organizing exposure visits for women and men farmers to visit villages in other parts of the country where restoration practices are being implemented, allowing farmers to learn from each other. The initiative is also supporting women in building improved cookstoves that require less fuelwood – saving women’s time collecting the fuelwood and reducing forest degradation – and to access microcredit to pursue income-generating activities such as trade, horticulture, and processing of non-timber forest products. Most importantly, collectively having access to land is enabling women to strengthen their social ties, cultivate vegetables and increase their incomes.

In addition to material gains, women have also built greater confidence and have become more vocal when it comes to accessing or managing natural resources in their village. During village meetings, for example, they are stating their opinions, and may even express ideas that contradict those of the men – which was something unheard of in the past. Women are also reporting having a greater say within their household on what to grow and what agricultural techniques to adopt in their fields as a result of their participation in restoration initiatives. Moreover, the provision of tools and equipment has freed up some of the energy and time, which the women can now invest in activities that foster their personal development. Many have chosen to learn to read, others are learning about family planning, sanitation and keeping their households healthy.

As one of the participants, Ms Kabore Minata puts it, “Thanks to these efforts, we women were able to have land, even if only on loan, and tools to cultivate crops. Were it not for these interventions, this would be only a dream because [as a woman having married into this village] I am considered a stranger here. Aside from a small parcel of land for growing condiments, what else could a woman like me have had otherwise?”

This article was originally published by Bioversity International


The University of Ouagadougou, Association Tiipaalga, and Burkina Faso’s National Tree Seed Center partnered with Bioversity International on this initiative.

This research was carried out by Adidjata Ouédraogo and Safietou Tiendrebeogo, Master’s students at Université de Ouagadougou, in the context of the project ‘Nutrition‐sensitive forest restoration to enhance adaptive capacity of rural communities in Burkina Faso’, led by Bioversity International. This research component has also received the support of Association Tiipaalga and the Centre National de Semences Forestières. The project is funded by the Austrian Development Agency.

This resesarch was conducted as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, and is supported by contributors to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • Cracking the candlenut challenge

Cracking the candlenut challenge

Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Candlenut in West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces in Indonesia has the potential to provide additional income for farmers, but post-harvest handling is necessary.

If you visit the Indonesian provinces of West or East Nusa Tenggara (collectively called Nusa Tenggara), you can easily find lush groves of candlenut trees. Candlenut (Aleurites moluccanus) can survive the provinces’ extreme dry seasons, making it the predominant provider of non-timber forest products.

Candlenut is a flowering tree that produces hard seeds containing fatty acids that yield 15-20 percent of their weight in oil. Presently, candlenut cultivation focuses on extracting the oil for use as a hair tonic, massage oil, in aromatherapy, and as a skin moisturizer. Candlenut is also an essential ingredient in many Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisines, used as a flavor enhancer, thickener and condiment.

Farmers in Nusa Tenggara often intercrop candlenut with other species, such as coffee, and sell the whole nuts with minimal processing. Since 2013, the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia (Kanoppi) project, which is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), has been working with candlenut farmers to help them improve their livelihoods.

“Like many others in Indonesia, candlenut farmers in Nusa Tenggara follow very traditional methods,” said Aulia Perdana, Kanoppi leader. “They acquired their farming techniques from their parents and, owing to a lack of access to specialist knowledge, usually don’t try to innovate. As well, a lot of projects on candlenut have focused on production without incorporating downstream aspects, like marketing, and this is where Kanoppi contributes.”

Read more: Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

A farmer readies candlenut shells for processing in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. Photo by ICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Perdana said that Kanoppi, now in its second phase, would continue its focus on marketing while exploring more partnerships with the private sector and optimizing production through sustainable management using an integrated landscape approach.

Annually, a candlenut tree produces 30-80 kg of nuts. After shelling, the nuts weigh 25 percent of the original mass and sell for between Rp 10,000 (75 US cents) and Rp 25,000 per kilogram.

In 2016, one of the partners in Kanoppi, Universitas Mataram, conducted a pilot study in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, which found that farmers already performed simple post-harvest processes, such as drying the nuts in the sun or with small concrete ovens, soaking the nuts and cracking the shells with tools made from used plastic bottles.

The university compared the difference in revenue between selling whole or processed nuts: 10 kg of whole nuts could be sold for Rp 40,000 whereas dried and shelled nuts sold for Rp 60,000 and the shells for Rp 3,500. Assuming that farmers processed the nuts themselves rather than paying others, the revenue for 10 kg of processed nuts was higher by Rp 23,500 than the same amount of whole nuts.

In practice, if farmers wanted to expand production to include processing, they needed to hire workers, which meant they had to pay wages and transportation costs. Yet when analyzed, the results were still profitable. The university calculated that if the processors handled 1 ton of whole nuts per day they could generate Rp 471,170 of profit, or more than Rp 12,000,000 per month.

Another Kanoppi partner, Threads of Life, conducted field observation of the candlenut value chain in Gunung Mutis, East Nusa Tenggara. They found that farmers and village collectors usually sold to agents who worked for district traders who then sold to larger-scale traders in Kupang and Atambua, who subsequently shipped the product to Surabaya in East Java.

The researchers also discovered that trust was an issue between farmers and traders. Farmers claimed they were paid below market price and that manipulated scales were used to weigh their yields.

On the other hand, traders claimed that sacks might not be fully filled with candlenuts. One trader in Kapan market, Gunung Mutis, said he bought a 7 kg unsorted sack in which he found 1 kg of the overall weight to be dirt and sawdust. According to the researchers, one of the solutions to the lack of trust could be selling through a village-owned enterprise, which could provide competitive prices and services to attract farmers to sell directly to them rather than to village traders.

Read more: Getting down to business: Seminar promotes shift toward inclusive investment

Drying candlenut. Photo by Aulia Perdana/ICRAF

Kanoppi partners Threads of Life and the University of Western Australia conducted a five-day workshop for farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. The workshop focused on making cold-pressed coconut and candlenut oils and building awareness of business approaches. Sixteen participants attended, including women who played pivotal roles in value chains: determining who to sell to, negotiating prices and making deals.

It was imperative for women to understand the production processes and business planning because they could use the knowledge in bargaining and in better marketing of the product.

During the workshop, the participants decided to form a group to market their candlenut oil to the massage spas and restaurants of the neighboring island of Bali, one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Threads of Life identified Bluestone Botanicals as a potential buyer.

When presented with samples, the company’s buyers were so impressed that they instantly bought the remaining stock and committed to buying 10 liters a month from the group. To further promote candlenut production, Kanoppi shared the workshop manual with local communities in Sumbawa and Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. 

By ICRAF communications specialist Robert Finlayson and independent communication consultant Enggar Paramita, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

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  • Cracking the candlenut challenge

Cracking the candlenut challenge

Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Unshelled candlenut. Photo by WICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Candlenut in West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces in Indonesia has the potential to provide additional income for farmers, but post-harvest handling is necessary.

If you visit the Indonesian provinces of West or East Nusa Tenggara (collectively called Nusa Tenggara), you can easily find lush groves of candlenut trees. Candlenut (Aleurites moluccanus) can survive the provinces’ extreme dry seasons, making it the predominant provider of non-timber forest products.

Candlenut is a flowering tree that produces hard seeds containing fatty acids that yield 15-20 percent of their weight in oil. Presently, candlenut cultivation focuses on extracting the oil for use as a hair tonic, massage oil, in aromatherapy, and as a skin moisturizer. Candlenut is also an essential ingredient in many Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisines, used as a flavor enhancer, thickener and condiment.

Farmers in Nusa Tenggara often intercrop candlenut with other species, such as coffee, and sell the whole nuts with minimal processing. Since 2013, the Developing and Promoting Market-based Agroforestry Options and Integrated Landscape Management for Smallholder Forestry in Indonesia (Kanoppi) project, which is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), has been working with candlenut farmers to help them improve their livelihoods.

“Like many others in Indonesia, candlenut farmers in Nusa Tenggara follow very traditional methods,” said Aulia Perdana, Kanoppi leader. “They acquired their farming techniques from their parents and, owing to a lack of access to specialist knowledge, usually don’t try to innovate. As well, a lot of projects on candlenut have focused on production without incorporating downstream aspects, like marketing, and this is where Kanoppi contributes.”

Read more: Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

A farmer readies candlenut shells for processing in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. Photo by ICRAF/Universitas Mataram/Muktasam

Perdana said that Kanoppi, now in its second phase, would continue its focus on marketing while exploring more partnerships with the private sector and optimizing production through sustainable management using an integrated landscape approach.

Annually, a candlenut tree produces 30-80 kg of nuts. After shelling, the nuts weigh 25 percent of the original mass and sell for between Rp 10,000 (75 US cents) and Rp 25,000 per kilogram.

In 2016, one of the partners in Kanoppi, Universitas Mataram, conducted a pilot study in Batudulang village, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, which found that farmers already performed simple post-harvest processes, such as drying the nuts in the sun or with small concrete ovens, soaking the nuts and cracking the shells with tools made from used plastic bottles.

The university compared the difference in revenue between selling whole or processed nuts: 10 kg of whole nuts could be sold for Rp 40,000 whereas dried and shelled nuts sold for Rp 60,000 and the shells for Rp 3,500. Assuming that farmers processed the nuts themselves rather than paying others, the revenue for 10 kg of processed nuts was higher by Rp 23,500 than the same amount of whole nuts.

In practice, if farmers wanted to expand production to include processing, they needed to hire workers, which meant they had to pay wages and transportation costs. Yet when analyzed, the results were still profitable. The university calculated that if the processors handled 1 ton of whole nuts per day they could generate Rp 471,170 of profit, or more than Rp 12,000,000 per month.

Another Kanoppi partner, Threads of Life, conducted field observation of the candlenut value chain in Gunung Mutis, East Nusa Tenggara. They found that farmers and village collectors usually sold to agents who worked for district traders who then sold to larger-scale traders in Kupang and Atambua, who subsequently shipped the product to Surabaya in East Java.

The researchers also discovered that trust was an issue between farmers and traders. Farmers claimed they were paid below market price and that manipulated scales were used to weigh their yields.

On the other hand, traders claimed that sacks might not be fully filled with candlenuts. One trader in Kapan market, Gunung Mutis, said he bought a 7 kg unsorted sack in which he found 1 kg of the overall weight to be dirt and sawdust. According to the researchers, one of the solutions to the lack of trust could be selling through a village-owned enterprise, which could provide competitive prices and services to attract farmers to sell directly to them rather than to village traders.

Read more: Getting down to business: Seminar promotes shift toward inclusive investment

Drying candlenut. Photo by Aulia Perdana/ICRAF

Kanoppi partners Threads of Life and the University of Western Australia conducted a five-day workshop for farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. The workshop focused on making cold-pressed coconut and candlenut oils and building awareness of business approaches. Sixteen participants attended, including women who played pivotal roles in value chains: determining who to sell to, negotiating prices and making deals.

It was imperative for women to understand the production processes and business planning because they could use the knowledge in bargaining and in better marketing of the product.

During the workshop, the participants decided to form a group to market their candlenut oil to the massage spas and restaurants of the neighboring island of Bali, one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Threads of Life identified Bluestone Botanicals as a potential buyer.

When presented with samples, the company’s buyers were so impressed that they instantly bought the remaining stock and committed to buying 10 liters a month from the group. To further promote candlenut production, Kanoppi shared the workshop manual with local communities in Sumbawa and Timor Tengah Selatan, East Nusa Tenggara. 

By ICRAF communications specialist Robert Finlayson and independent communication consultant Enggar Paramita, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

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  • Smallholder finance in the oil palm sector: Analyzing the gaps between existing credit schemes and smallholder realities

Smallholder finance in the oil palm sector: Analyzing the gaps between existing credit schemes and smallholder realities

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

There are about 2 million smallholders cultivating 40% of Indonesia’s oil palm area. They require significant financing to establish, maintain and replant their oil palm plantations, in order to both increase productivity and improve the quality of the fresh fruit bunches. Their capacity to self-finance their plantation is limited. However, most of them are credit-constrained.

Since the late 1970s, the Government of Indonesia has introduced a number of credit schemes for oil palm smallholders. Banks and other formal institutions have also been offering various credit schemes in terms of the amount, grace period and requirements for smallholders, both individually or in groups.

Through interviews and focus group discussions in two districts, each in South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan, we found four gaps: (1) demand–-supply gaps; (2) maturity gaps; (3) risk-sharing gaps; and (4) legal gaps. Demand-–supply gaps exist where credit applications by oil palm smallholders were not approved because of issues related to collateral requirements, credit amounts, and crop gestation periods. Maturity gaps exist when only few financing schemes consider a grace period for smallholders to wait for the first harvest. Risk-sharing gaps refer to the volatility in production costs and palm oil prices that smallholders have to bear. Many smallholders do not hold proper documentation, which leads to the legal gaps that prevent them from using their land as collateral to access credit from banks.

These gaps reduce the possibility of smallholders accessing credit from formal institutions, which drives an informal local lending market with limited credit amounts and higher interest rates. The government and financial institutions must address these gaps in order to improve formal credit access for smallholder oil palm farmers.


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