Burkina’swell-loved parboiled rice, steamed and dried rice before being hulled, wouldlikely have disappeared without Burkina Faso’s innovative women. Rikolto andUNERIZ established a franchise business model to allow for quality parboilingat home to complement the quality of parboiling in centres.
Women parboilers face many challenges. Climate change and the unstable harvest of rice volumes are a constant threat. Rice producers also don’t want to sell their rice on trust, but prefer getting paid immediately. Parboilers struggle to pay upfront since they rarely have access to working capital and as a result have to rely on the income they acquire after they sold the rice. Women parboilers thus only buy small quantities of rice at once. Additionally, women parboil about three quarters of their rice at home, due to the parboiling centres sufficient capacity. The issue with home parboiled rice is the lower quality since the women lack capital to buy the necessary equipment. Furthermore women don’t have entrepreneurial skills. Lastly, UNERIZ does not have a brand name or recognizable packaging for its rice, which makes it difficult to launch a marketing campaign and gain consumer recognition.
Without women, no development. It is crucial to invest in female entrepreneurs.
Rikolto and UNERIZ have joined forces to co-create an alternative business model, namely a franchise model. This model allows for quality parboiling at home by individual women or small enterprises of women, and complements the parboiling done in the centres.
Rikolto has been working together with UNERIZ since 2011 to strengthen the position of women parboilers in the Burkinabe society and increase their income. From 2014 onwards, Rikolto has supported UNERIZ’ sub-union in Douna to set up a collective rice parboiling centre, to allow the parboilers to improve the quality of their rice and sell at a higher price. Meanwhile, this model has been replicated in UNERIZ’ other sub-unions.
The model, if proven feasible from a financial, cultural, socio-economic and environmental point of view, will be scaled up in Burkina Faso, and across West-Africa.
Rikolto works together with UNERIZ. Its 3,730 members (all women) are the key beneficiaries of this project. Indirect beneficiaries include the rice producers, and urban and rural consumers who gain access to higher quality rice.