What are the impacts of EU policies on local dairy value chains in West African countries with a high potential of production?
How can EU agricultural, trade and investment, development cooperation, and external action policies support the regional ECOWAS dairy strategy ‘Offensive Lait’?

The case study will examine EU policies and their impacts in West Africa. It will focus on 3 countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger; tbc) and the regional level (ECOWAS). Most of the local dairy producers in West Africa are among the most marginal groups, with an important role for women. There is a great potential in the development of local dairy value chains, potentially improving livelihoods, employment, food security and nutrition, gender equality, public finances, access to essential social services, environmental sustainability, political security, thereby also reducing migration. Therefore, ECOWAS has adopted a regional strategy ‘Offensive Lait’ that is being translated into national strategies. The study will investigate how EU exports of powders (milk and fat-filled powders) impact on the development of local dairy value chains. It will identify obstacles and opportunities to implement its ‘Offensive Lait’. The better understanding of the impacts of exported dairy products on local dairy value chains in West Africa will allow to analyze the tensions, trade-offs and potential coherence of different policy decisions pertaining to achieve sustainable development.
  • EU trade and sustainable development policy
  • EU policy coherence for development
  • AU-EU partnerships
  • Offensive Lait from ECOWAS
  • EU Common Agricultural Policy

Issues of competitiveness include unfair trading practices including dumping of EU exports (exporting below costs of production), external costs competition (with the cheaper, less sustainable production of fat filled milk powders). The study will also look at addressing bottlenecks to improve dairy productivity in West Africa. Relevant policy measures to be taken to address questions of development of sustainable local value chains, price volatility, unequal power relations in the value chain will be identified. Relevant experiences from other countries or regions where relevant (e.g., Kenya and South Asia) will be considered.

  • Value chain analysis
  • Sustainable development impacts
  • Qualitative desk research and participatory (group) interviews
The case study will build on existing production, collection, selling, consumption, price, trade and stock data, as well as cost of production figures in the EU and in West Africa. These will be expanded to the recently available figures of trade in fat-filled powders, as the most important export product to West Africa. It will build on the project’s framework to analyse broader impacts of the EU trade on sustainable local dairy value chains, including aspects of income/livelihoods, employment, food security, gender inequalities, migration, public finances, environmental sustainability and review existing literature to identify the key issues. These issues will feed into stakeholder discussions in the EU and in West African countries to further complement eventually leading to concrete recommendations for public authorities and other stakeholders.
The case study will provide quantitative and qualitative evidence and ana­lysis on the linkages between trade, local production, investments, food security, poverty reduction to the concerned stakeholders, in particular those involved in local value chains in West Africa. This will allow them to participate in an informed debate with public and private sector actors. As an illustration, by increasing the understanding of trade impact on the local dairy value chain, the case study will support the ability of stakeholder to join the discussion on the Common External Tariff of the ECOWAS. By identifying incoherencies, obstacles, trade-offs, and potential complementarities, the study will contribute to identify ways to reduce these contradictions and to developing propositions for coherent and convergent policy responses for sustainable and fair value chains by the EU, ECOWAS and national states.

Case Study Leader

Oxfam Solidarité - Oxfam Solidariteit

SDG's Addressed


Geographical Focus and Scale

  Burkina Faso

Product and market focus

Dairy products (fresh, processed, dairy powders, fat filled milk powders). EU exports to West Africa, as well as local and regional markets in West Africa.

Key stakeholders

The case will involve stakeholders active in the development of local dairy value chain in West Africa, including milk producers, farmers organisations, dairy processors and retailers as well as local authorities, NGOs and researchers. It will also involve relevant European stakeholders (dairy producers, processors, exporters, public authorities).Stakeholders will include actors active at local, national, regional and international levels. Discussions will focus on three different countries in West Africa (tbc), the ECOWAS region, as well as the European dairy trade perspective.
Research design: national coordination of the ECOWAS “Offensive Lait” Research data gathering: farmers, dairy cooperatives, local authorities, dairy companies (traders, investors), research institutions involved in complementary research.Sharing outputs: 1) national and regional coordination ‘Offensive Lait’; 2) different value chain actors in West Africa and Europe, 3) national and regional authorities in West Africa and Europe; 4) consumers and the wider audience.