Burkina Faso (Hauts-Bassins, Cascades and Boucle du Mouhoun regions)
April 2014 to March 2019
Direct: 2734 women parboilers
Indirect: about 9145 people
- Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Interprofessional
- Rice Committee of Burkina (CIR-B)
- National Union of Women Rice Parboilers (UNERIZ) and 5 women parboilers’ unions (Bama, Banzon, Founzan, Karfiguéla and Niassan)
CAD $6 456 000 :
Support for developing and marketing local rice
Parboiling rice is a processing technique that consists of pre-cooking paddy rice to improve its texture and nutritional quality. In Burkina Faso, this is a traditional activity whose technique is passed down from mother to daughter.
In the early 2000s, in the wake of the sector’s privatization, imports of white rice increased, and stocks of paddy rice accumulated. Refusing to witness the sector’s collapse and the gradual disappearance of an ancestral practice, hundreds of Burkinabè women bought the yield of the cooperatives. They began parboiling it and selling it in local markets.
A first CECI project, carried out as part of its Uniterra volunteer cooperation program between 2009 and 2014, enabled more than a thousand of these parboilers to merge into professional associations. There was an improvement in the working conditions and quality and hygiene standards, a creation of jobs and an increase of generated income, an improvement of food security and nutrition level, etc. The impact of the project was such that Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Agriculture wished to extend the experience.
Today, through PAERIZ, there are more than 2,700 women parboilers, spread over three regions, that CECI supports. The project promotes the establishment of conditions
enabling parboilers to fully invest in the processing, promotion and marketing of parboiled rice to effectively meet the expectations and quality requirements of the market. The artisanal approach gradually makes way for a more efficient and entrepreneurial approach. The construction of infrastructure, the purchase of adapted equipment or training in improved parboiling techniques have thus clearly helped to improve the quality of rice that is produced – the number of black grains and the ratio of impurity and breakage have thus greatly diminished.
In addition, there is an expansion of business opportunities, with new partnerships, both private and institutional. The Ministry of National Education and Literacy has thus
finalized an agreement to supply parboiled rice to school canteens in the country. Finally, access to loans and credit has increased. In partnership with a financial
institution, a fund was created to facilitate access to credit for rice parboilers who are members of parboiling centres.
The goal of the National Union of Women Rice Parboilers (UNERIZ) and its member unions is to acquire the organizational skills that are necessary to operate efficiently within the sector, to develop a vision and entrepreneurial skills enabling them to achieve financial profitability, and to be recognized as professional organizations. Changes have been made to the way activities are conducted within the unions. In addition to the development of a strategic vision, there is an increase in skills at several levels, particularly in terms of governance (increased accountability of leaders, more transparent flow of information). Improvements are also visible in terms of management (greater rigor to produce financial statements) and entrepreneurship (acquisition of knowledge favouring the analysis of market profitability).
By being better organized and more entrepreneurial, UNERIZ and its member unions are also in a better position to offer quality services to their members, particularly in terms of access to financing. Some unions are more apt to negotiate loans with the microfinance institutions of their locality, and they are better trained to defend their interests – an increase in the purchase price of parboiled rice by SONAGESS, which bought 90% of the total volume of production in 2016, has thus been obtained.
Finally, UNERIZ and the unions offer women parboilers various trainings aimed to strengthen their technical and managerial capacities (administrative management, literacy courses, etc.). In the summer of 2017, a process to create three small child care centres on the parboiler work sites was also launched.
Each of the interventions under PAERIZ was conducted with a gender equality approach (GE). In addition to a greater presence of women in various bodies, women
parboilers are speaking more often within their unions, and there is increased visibility and representation of women parboilers and unions in their community. Moreover, access to several resources and their control have improved, especially access to finance, equipment and the market.
Finally, in regard to developing a favorable environment (institutions/communities sensitive to GE and open-mindedness of men towards women’s participation), progress has been made by taking GE into account in all the strategic documents of UNERIZ and the 5 unions (business plan, development plan, communication plan, etc.). 96 people from the associations have been trained in GE. In 2017, a larger scale awareness-raising process was launched by organizing forum theatres in communities, producing radio programs and organizing discussion workshops with women parboilers’ husbands on themes related to the project’s GE issues.
Increase in the quantity of rice marketed by the 5 unions between 2016 and September 2017:
Number of women trained in the parboiling technique:
Increase in the total amount of credit granted by financial institutions to the 5 unions between 2014 and 2017: