Fair Rice Benin

SUSTAINABLE INCOME FOR RICE FARMERS

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Rice is on the daily menu in Benin. You would expect the local rice farmers to have a good position as a result, but nothing could be further from the truth. The harvests are small, the quality is low and the domestic market is out of reach. Woord en Daad is building a sustainable rice chain together with local partners. We are working on improving the rice sector in three areas: farmers, cooperatives and the local market.

The farmers:

We start in the field, with the farmer. The output of the farmers can be improved significantly. Many farmers live on a day to day basis by necessity. The income from growing rice is relatively low. As a result, many farmers live in poverty. In Benin, on average, one hectare of rice field yields 1,500 to 3,000 kilos of rice. The yields vary, among others, because of different climates and soils. Still, yields can be  increased a lot. Yields from 3,000 to 5,000 kilos per hectare are viable. Last year 1,100 rice farmers were trained to increase their output. These farmers (613 men and 489 women) were supervised by advisors throughout the season. Apart from training on growing rice these farmers also got training on business management.

“I grow rice to feed my children. Thanks to the training my yields have increased considerably. With these results I have increased my farmland from 0.25 to 0.5 hectare. DEDRAS also helped me to get a loan for ploughing and inputs needed for growing rice.”

Safia Kakpe (rice farmer):

“My yield was low, and I used a lot of seeds on my land. Thanks to a new technique I learned, I saved a lot of seeds. It is a difficult technique but it has doubled my yield. Now, I harvest 13 sacks of 85 kilos from my field (0.25 ha) where it used to be 6.”

Baké Orou Mongo (rice farmer):

“Within our cooperation we have learnt a lot about blanching rice, which makes it more nutritious. Therefore, I sell more rice and my customers are satisfied about the quality. I could even increase the price of the rice, without losing customers.”

Zénabou Issa (rice processor):

“Before I received my training, the customers were not satisfied with the quality of my rice. Then DEDRAS trained me to improve the quality of the blanching process. As a result, I now sell rice of good quality. According to some, my rice even looks like imported rice. I also sell rice to a woman who offers school lunches.”

Saharatou Abou (rice processor):

The cooperatives

To support farmers structurally, we also need to look at the journey the rice makes until it reaches the consumer. A next step is to have the farmers join a cooperation. Within the project we work together with three cooperations; two in the south and one in the far north of the country.

These cooperations do more than selling rice for their members, they also add value to the product, for instance by threshing the rice. As a result, the value of the product increases and more money is made for the farmers. Still, there is a lot of room for professionalization in these cooperations. For instance, to process more rice with the machines currently in use. We want to support them on this, because processed rice pays off directly through better prices for the farmer.

Location of the three cooperatives:

The local  market

Every year, Benin imports large quantities of rice, mainly from Asian countries. Locally, there are sufficient possibilities to increase production.  Locally grown rice does not only compete prices-wise with imported rice, but also has an advantage in the area of continuity. Fair Rice contributes to food security in Benin. For instance, school cantines in the north of the country can offer their students a nutritious meal thanks to domestically grown rice.

Local partners of Woord en Daad

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