On 29 and 30 November 2017, a team from the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD) and the Belgian Embassy in Burkina Faso visited Rikolto’s partners in Burkina Faso. DGD was represented by Mr. Corentin Genin on a mission to Burkina, and the Belgian Embassy was represented by Ms. Kathelyne Craenen as Adviser and Mr. Olivier Savadogo as Program Officer.
DGD visits Rikolto's partners in Burkina Faso
DGD visits Rikolto's partners in Burkina Faso
Purpose of the visit
The purpose of the visit was to concretely assess the results achieved by the previous programme (2014-2016) and the level of implementation of the ongoing one (2017-2021). The mission visited the following partners of Rikolto: UNERIZ, UDERD, the departmental union of rice producers of Douna (UDPRD) and the interprofessional rice committee of Burkina (CIRB). The assessment of the previous programme concerned all of these partners, while the monitoring of the ongoing one mainly concerned UNERIZ and UDERD.
Another objective of the visit was to better understand the synergy/ complementarity between the programs of Rikolto and Trias. Rikolto and Trias have collaborated in the support of the departmental union for women rice parboilers of Douna (UDERD) and the national union for women rice parboilers (UNERIZ) during the 2014-2016 programme. This synergy continues in the support of UNERIZ under the ongoing 2017-2021 programme.
Achievements of the previous programme
Exchanges with farmer organisations and their members and a visit to the Douna parboiling centre, allowed the visitors to appreciate the changes in the lives of farmers following the action of Rikolto's programme in 2014 - 2016. These are some of the key changes they have observed:
Douna's parboiling centre is a functional and modern parboiling centre, managed by the women rice parboilers. It allows for a better work organisation, reduces time loss between the various steps of the parboiling process and ensures the quality of the finished products. It thus ensures a greater work efficiency and therefore a better performance, which is important to improve the profitability of the business. Women rice parboilers have indeed been moving forward.
Women have the necessary equipment enabling them to parboil at a time, 150 kg of paddy. The typical, still very widespread steaming kits only allow the parboiling of up to 40 kg of paddy. With this material they need less energy to transform than the 40 kg kits. As a result, the program has enabled women in Douna to reduce their pressure on the environment. Furthermore, the centre is powered by solar energy: lighting, drilling, water heater, grading, rice bags sewing machines all work through the solar device set up. The centre of Douna was the model for the construction of all other parboiling centers built after 2014 around the country.
Rice quality has improved significantly, which helped women increase the selling price of parboiled rice. At the start of the project, the rice selling price was 280 CFA/ kg; the current selling price of well packed and sorted rice is 350 CFA/ kg (wholesale price) and 500-1000 and CFA/ kg (retail price).
Women rice parboilers now have easier access to credit to ensure paddy supply for their unit (46 million in 2014 and 25 million in 2015); they made customized packaging for a better marketing of their production.
From discussions with stakeholders, the mission also noted that the programme has also strengthened cooperation between rice chain actors, among others through the implementation of the project "Farmers' organisations as key actors in sector's good governance at national and regional level in West Africa ", co-financed by the DGD and the European Union. The advocacy actions carried out under this project led to the adoption of a ministerial decree on rice consumption by large households in Burkina Faso. They have also led to a more profitable price for farmers rice during institutional purchases: increase in the selling price of rice of 10 FCFA/ kg with SONAGESS (national society of management of security stocks) and 25 FCFA/ kg for institutional purchases with the MENA (Ministry of National Education and Literacy). Value chains actors have experienced various contractualisation experiences, first among themselves after the organization of rice exchanges, but also between them and the public sector (SONAGESS, MENA, Communes). The CIRB advocacy group was boosted and consultation between the interprofession and state structures has increased.
What about our current programme?
The delegation noted that the actions are continuing in the sense of consolidating the achievements of the previous programme.
For example, UNERIZ, with the support of Rikolto, is currently developing a franchise business model to increase the individual incomes of rice women parboilers. It is a fact recognized by all: the construction of the center in Douna has considerably improved the quality and presentation of parboiled rice produced by women. However, because of their large numbers, women cannot parboil all their rice in the centre; they have to take turns. This limits the increase in their income. The alternative model under development should address this issue.
Similarly, the 150 kg steaming kits can be further improved to increase efficiency, and the ongoing programme will address this.
At the advocacy level, the current programme supports, among other things, the farmer organisations to continue negotiating with the authorities so that the decision to supply large households with locally produced rice becomes a permanent decision.
Visitors finally noted with satisfaction the complementarity/ synergy between Rikolto and Trias. Both organisations have well-distributed roles in supporting farmer organisations. Rikolto focuses on farmer organisation entrepreneurship, multi-stakeholder process development, environmental preservation and good farming practices, while Trias focuses on organisational-institutional support and financial education for farmers.
Key take-aways and recommendations
Upon conclusion of the mission, the visitors specifically commended the following key successes:
- the effectiveness of professionalisation of farmer organisations and the entrepreneurial dynamic that is developing;
- the promotion of environmentally friendly practices: introduction of renewable energy (solar) by women in parboiling;
- the development of room for consultation between rice value chains actors;
- the effectiveness of the practice of contracting between actors;
- the use of digitalisation at the level of the market information system.
Mr. Genin recommended continuing and strengthening these ongoing initiatives, and also recommended that greater attention be given to mainstreaming women's rights in future strategies and actions, an increasingly important aspect for the DGD.