Local Solutions for a Global Economy

South-South Collaboration

Program Information

Implementing Partner: PagSung
Implementing Partner: SEWA

The India Ghana Women Farmers Partnership is a collaborative program that links women Shea nut pickers and processors from Ghana to the womanled RUDI MultiTrading Company in India to engage in a strategic program on opportunity, investment, and best practices in valuechain ownership of womenowned cooperative enterprises. A joint program facilitated by the Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) for the PagSung Shea Nut Pickers and Processors Association of Ghana (PagSung) and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India. This knowledge transfer partnership and exchange program sought to improve the livelihoods of women Shea butter producers through collaboration, training, and improvement of a more robust market access and greater ownership of the Shea valuechain. The program economically empowered women producers by establishing greater ownership over their supply chain, building capacity among producers, and improving production quality to facilitate access to regional and international markets.

The India-Ghana Women Farmers Partnership is premised on three fundamental principles:

  1. Women - especially poor small holder farmers - offer one of the greatest untapped potentials for promoting sustainable economic growth and food security.
  2. Broad and sustained poverty alleviation requires livelihood opportunities, improved access to markets, enabling policy environments, and resources to make proven models accessible to women small-holder enterprises in developing nations.
  3. Successful models from the South provide valuable learning and effective partners for other South countries.

Creating Livelihood Opportunities

GFI partnered with Ghana’s PagSung to identify targeted interventions and help create greater economic empowerment for women Shea nut pickers and processors through improved market access and valuechain ownership. The exchange of information, issues and opportunities that emerged ran a very similar course, and raised common themes to the issues and barriers faced by another GFI partner, SEWA of India. The process that SEWA has followed has the ability to offer a highly replicable model and as a result presents a clear opportunity for introducing an impactful South‐South exchange program between SEWA and PagSung. Recognizing the potential of this exchange, GFI introduced the idea of a South‐South capacity building collaboration with SEWA to Pag Sung, and the response was an enthusiastic approval of the idea.

Under the collaboration, the women leaders of the RUDI Multi‐Trading Company would provide targeted knowledge and training inputs to Shea nut pickers and processors with the goal of creating a robust trade facilitation structure within the PagSung organization. The knowledge transfer partnership will seek to create greater ownership of the Shea value‐chain for the women of PagSung based on the model that has effectively created this ownership for the rural women farmers of RUDI in Northern India. The program:

  • Had women farmers from PagSung visit India to observe, learn, and adopt practices from SEWA’s RUDI trade facilitation centers, which consolidate product and processing, provide training and a safe space for collaboration and business development, and create a model of how the link between the network of producers and buyers served by RUDI is structured.
  • Had women farmers from SEWA visit Ghana to access the implementation of ideas exchanged in the first visit. Additionally, help locally guide the implementation and integration of a value chain that connects grass‐root producers with buyers and gives women ownership of their product.

The Exchange: Applying the SEWA Model

GFI has worked with SEWA, and its over one million women producers, since 2002 to create a wellestablished, highly impactful model on rural agriculture supply‐chains for women that have evolved into the private SEWA enterprise known as RUDI. RUDI has proven to help organize and empower women small farmers and producers to gain participation and ownership in the agricultural supply chain, increase income and livelihood opportunities among rural poor women, enhance the quality, capacity, and efficiency of production through the use of technology, information, and support, and have an achievable target of sales turnover from USD$ 1.2 million this year to USD$3 million by the end of 2012.


GFI, in partnership with SEWA and PagSung, sought to economically empower women Shea nut pickers and processors in Tamale, Ghana by improving production practices and product quality, helping access larger, sustainable markets, and providing business, financial, and supply chain training. Overall, the program:

  • Improved wages and generate employment by creating effective linkages to local, regional and international markets that provide sustainable livelihoods for women Shea nut farmers.
  • Engaged policy makers to provide greater support and access for women small holder Shea farmers.
  • Facilitated improved communication and more stable relationships across the Shea nut sector and with other sectors that will allow for better market knowledge and adaptation.
  • Increased food security for rural communities by improving inputs, providing technical support, and by creating more responsive markets through improved facilitation and communication.

Program Activities

The South‐South Collaboration: India‐Ghana Women Farmers Partnerships incorporated the following activities:

  • Learning exchange by PagSung to experience firsthand how the RUDI model is working. Focus will be on understanding the organizational structure, management systems, member involvement and benefits, outreach and incentives. As well as systems of accountability to members through the organization of general meetings, book‐keeping and ensuring the success of various product lines
  • Technical assistance from SEWA to organize, lead and empower women grassroots producers moving towards a greater voice, ownership and influence of the Shea value‐chain
  • Study of international best practices and local analysis by PagSung and SEWA towards improvement of collection, processing, packaging and transportation of Shea products
  • On site assessments by SEWA to monitor the implementation of the key elements learned in the primary visit
  • On‐going channels of communication for continued support

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