Supporting Women Entrepreneurship in the Rice Industry (PAEFFR)

Area of Expertise

  • Economic development

Means of Action

  • Volunteer cooperation
  • Development
Country Country

Benin, Collines Department, Bantè, Dassa-Zoumè, Glazoué, Ouèssè, Savalou, Savè communes

Length Length

May 2017- Nov 2023

Beneficiaries Beneficiaries

5,300 women rice parboilers

Partners Partners

• URFER-C (Regional women rice parboilers’ union)
• UNIRIZ (Producers’ union)
• CCR-B (Collaboration framework of stakeholders in the rice industry)
• MAEP (Ministère de l’agriculture, l’élevage et la pêche)

Budget Budget

10,611 373 $CAN (AMC) including 636,000$ from CECI

The Supporting Women Entrepreneurship in the Rice Industry Project (PAEFFR), launched in the six communes of the Collines Department, aims to contribute to the creation of wealth by improving the entrepreneurial performance of partnering associations (URFER-C, UNIRIZ-C, CCR-B) of the rice industry, and through the economic empowerment of women. URFER-C, the activity’s main partner, is comprised of six communal rice parboilers’ cooperatives made up exclusively of women.

Strengthening the Positioning of Unions and Cooperatives 

This project seeks to strengthen the strategic positioning of associations by integrating issues of gender equality, good governance and sustainable management of the environment. It also aims to constantly improve profitability and competitiveness of the rice parboilers’ businesses. As part of the implementation of the Interprofession and the
collaborative framework of the women parboilers, the CCR-B be provided with technical assistance. Training sessions and support will also be provided to support the union and cooperative leaders engaging in public/private dialogue (lobbying and advocacy). Furthermore, the organizations’ leaders will benefit from technical support in governance, accounting and financial sustainability, including the monitoring and evaluation of the plans.

Seeking to Increase Profitability

In its implementation, the project will specifically target skills in business management and start-up. The leaders of URFER-C and UNIRIZ-C will receive technical assistance in order to build these skills. Professionals will be coached and mentored through the delivery of consulting services related to business planning, governance, accounting and financial
management of member businesses and cooperatives. Consulting services in productivity, quality and marketing management will also be offered. 

Unions and cooperatives are also looking to increase the competitive advantage of their rice. To this end, the PAEFFR is working on the implementation of socially and environmentally conscious irrigation systems throughout the six communes of the Collines. It is delivering training sessions on production practises adapted to climate change in order to reduce losses. Processing centres will also be built or re-equipped specifically to face environmental issues.

Easier Access to Adapted Financial Services and Products

Activities will take place to facilitate access to adapted financial services and products for URFER-C, its communal cooperatives and UNIRIZ-C. To this effect, a memorandum of understanding will be negotiated with a financial institution of the region. In addition, adapted financial services and products will be offered to unions and cooperatives through a partner financial institution. Last, credit management training will be provided to the organization's leaders.

Convincing results:

In 2023, in the mixed producer structures supported by the project, an average of 37% of decision-making positions are held by women, some of whom hold strategic positions such as president, treasurer or secretary. In 2017, women held only 25% of these positions.

Since the beginning of the project, the quantities of parboiled rice sold each year by the partner structures have multiplied by more than 10, reaching 335 tonnes in 2022. 

532 people, including 506 women rice parboilers, have benefited from literacy training.

"Today, the fear of judgment, the fear of speaking out... all that is gone. We can speak in front of any audience, even the authorities. Women know their rights, and they demand them, and so on. We're not the same people we were four years ago [...]" Cyprienne DOSSOU, commune of Glazoué

See the documentary on the project to support women's entrepreneurship in the rice sector and the inspiring testimonies of participating women entrepreneurs:

See the contribution of men on the issue of gender inequality through the PAEFFR project.

Support for women entrepreneurship in the rice sector


Project figures

50% increase in women’s participation rate in decision-making bodies of UNIRIZ and CCR-B.

10% increase rice volume marketed every year

5,300 women entrepreneurs have received consulting services and training

Documents and news

News | November 21 2023

The rice industry, an illustration of female entrepreneurial success

After 6 years, the project to support women's entrepreneurship in the rice industry (PAEFFR) completed its activities in 2023. The results are very positive, and the sustainability of the project is assured by the local partners.