As part of the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (“Trade Hub”) project, USAID last week granted $ 1 million to the seed company Neema Agricole du Faso (Nafaso), based in Bobo-Dioulasso. The objective is to stimulate rice production in Burkina Faso.
According to USAID, consumption of white rice has increased by 15% per year among new regular rice consumers in West Africa and local production of white rice is not keeping up. However, ” the permanent availability of white rice is closely linked to the food security of Burkinabè and other West African populations”.
The American agency has identified two major bottlenecks: the absence of mechanized rice production and the insufficient quality of agricultural inputs such as seeds. “These challenges translate into 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 Covide-19 pandemic”, underlines the press release.
As part of this partnership, Nafaso will add 3,600 rice farmers and 60 seed producers to its current network of experienced smallholders in the areas; it will provide them with agricultural inputs, land and training in modern techniques of cultivation, storage and preservation. Nafaso will also sign contracts with these 3,660 farmers to ensure a regular supply of rice which will allow farmers to have a guaranteed buyer and a stable income. Note that the majority of these new smallholders will be women and young people.
Part of the American investment will also be used to build a rice processing and packaging plant in Bobo-Dioulasso.
“Through this project, Nafaso intends to eventually create more than 15,600 new jobs in the rice value chain [and] generate at least $ 21 million in sales over the life of the project, including $ 1.8 million in sales. linked to regional rice exports in West Africa.”