The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) is awarding $1 million to the seed company Neema Agricole du Faso (NAFASO), based in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. The grant and private sector partnership with NAFASO will help boost rice production in Burkina Faso, a critical effort to improve food security in the country.
The continued availability of white rice is closely linked to the food security of Burkinabè and other West African populations, who rely heavily on this staple crop. However, while white rice consumption has increased by 15 percent per year among new regular rice consumers in West Africa, local white rice production does not meet the needs of the population in the region. Factors associated with this unmet demand include the lack of mechanized rice production and the poor quality of agricultural inputs such as seeds.
These challenges result in low rice yields and significant income losses for farmers, while further exposing countries to dependence on white rice imports, which can be disrupted at any time, in times of socio-political conflict or crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Thanks to the partnership, NAFASO will help rice farmers
As part of this partnership, NAFASO will make its own resources available to develop a number of activities. For example, the company will add 3,600 rice farmers and 60 seed producers to its existing network of experienced smallholder farmers in the target areas to increase rice production in Burkina Faso.
In keeping with the Trade Hub’s goal of ensuring equitable access to agricultural opportunities, the majority of the new smallholders will be women and youth. NAFASO will provide them with agricultural inputs (such as fertilizer), land, and training in modern cultivation, storage, and conservation techniques.
NAFASO will also enter into contracts with these 3,660 farmers to ensure a steady supply of rice products. This will provide farmers with a guaranteed buyer and a stable income.
Part of the U.S. investment will be used to build a rice processing and packaging plant in Bobo-Dioulasso. Once operational, it will provide employment opportunities and new livelihoods for more than a thousand people in the rice value chain, including distributors in the region.
“One of the priorities of the Trade Hub is to help ensure food security in the region. Increasing the amount of locally produced and processed rice is essential to achieving this goal,” said Michael Clements, Trade Hub Project Manager.
A young farmer in Bama, Burkina Faso, with whom NAFASO works inspects a rice variety called Orylux 6.
Through this project, NAFASO aims to create more than 15,600 new jobs in the rice value chain. NAFASO also expects to generate at least $21 million in sales over the life of the project, including $1,861,206 in sales related to regional rice exports in West Africa, thereby contributing to food security in the region.
“The partnership with the Trade Hub aims to strengthen our economic position in Burkina Faso and other countries in the region,” explains Abdoulaye Sawadogo, Managing Director of NAFASO. “It builds on existing resources, infrastructure and capacity to enhance the quality and availability of locally produced, processed, and marketed rice. The project will also create jobs along the entire rice value chain. “
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First published in lefaso.net, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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