October 26, 2012 – Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – The government of the United States of America supports the cotton sector in West and Central Africa through the USAID West African Cotton Improvement Program (USAID WACIP). The program covers Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, commonly known as C-4 countries, plus Senegal. USAID WACIP is helping increase producers’ income in cotton-growing areas and increasing the added value of cotton processing by artisans and ginners. The project, which began in 2006, is implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC).

To meet one of the project objectives of increasing artisans’ revenue in the targeted countries, USAID WACIP conducts artisanal activities with its technical implementing partner, Aid to Artisans (ATA), a U.S.-based international non-governmental organization.

To support this initiative, USAID will assist nine artisanal enterprises from the C-4 countries to participate for a third time at the 13th Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO), from October 26 to November 4, 2012. Among the participants, four are from Benin, three from Burkina Faso and two from Chad.

Since 2007, artisans have received training from ATA in business skills and management, exporting regulations and requirements and color and designs. ATA has also trained artisans in modern textile production methods, methods of adapting locally woven fabric and measures for identifying and reducing occupational and environmental risks. ATA has also supported artisans’ participation at local, regional and international trade fairs where they were able to display and market their products.

The project’s results are remarkable. Today these creative men and women artisans, talented in craft production and promotion, offer the world their best collection of handwoven texiles such as bogolan, appliqué and batik, as well as home décor and fashion accessories.

The total sales value of more than 300 new cotton products developed by these small enterprises at SIAO 2008 and 2010 was US $51,787.

Thus far, more than 700 new cotton products have been developed since the inception of USAID WACIP, which has generated more than US $1,000,000 in sales within local, regional and international markets.

The objective of this year’s participation in the SIAO is also to strengthen the capacity of exporters by creating links between buyers and the producers. This will eventually lead to the creation of new sustainable market linkages and generate purchase orders for all. SIAO represents a unique business opportunity for the C-4 artisan enterprises as it increases their incomes and consequently improves their livelihoods.

For more information about USAID WACIP activities, please visit www.wacip.org.

IFDC, headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA, is a public international organization, governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing countries. The nonprofit Center, with over 700 employees involved in projects that span more than 35 countries in Africa and Eurasia, is supported by various bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments.

IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.


IFDC Contacts:

Djènèba Kéïta Millet
+223 79 17 84 85

Courtney Greene
256-381-6600 ext. 357

Areas of Expertise: