Rice is a typical crop in Burkina Faso and a prime ingredient in local cuisine. It is consumed as white rice, parboiled rice or rice couscous. The parboiled variety is being increasingly appreciated by the burkinabe for its nutritional qualities. For decades, rice used to be produced by men, sold to the state who took care of applying the parboiling process, and finally resold to the market. But when the liberalisation of rice trade came in, rice farmers suddenly found themselves deprived of their buyers and could not compete with imported rice market prices.
To face the situation head on and help their husbands, some women jointly created the Union Nationale des Etuveuses de Riz du Burkina (UNERIZ), a farmer organisation that purchases rice from farmers, processes it, and then sells it to the market. Today, the organisation counts approximately 3800 members distributed among different departments, each with its own collective parboiling centre.