Ensuring food security by enhancing rice value-chain Benin (PARCR)
Duration: April 2015 – April 2018
Aim: This project “Ensuring Sustainable and Sustained Food Security by Enhancing local parboiled rice value-Chain Competitiveness in Gogounou and Banikoara areas in Benin (PARCR)” aims to develop an adapted model of rice intensification, promoting the best rice-processing practices at local level and developing collective marketing mechanisms for the processed rice in Benin.
Objective: To develop a national partnership on novative practices promoting local rice that contribute to ensuring a market-oriented food security.
Method: A participatory research-action approach in which researchers, extensionists, development organisations and operators of the sector will pool their knowledge to stimulate innovations for the production of sustainable food.
Dutch policy goals: Increased sustainable agricultural production; Improved access to better nutrition; More efficient markets; and A better business climate.
Year 2: This year, the project achieved some encouraging results, especially in rice production. The average yields recorded in the twenty Farmers Fields Schools (FFS) with Intensive Rice System practices are 5,8T/ha and 5,5T/ha respectively in Gogounou and Banikoara against 0.8T/ha and 3,1T/ha respectively for the same communes with the farmers’ practices. Similarly, the same results clearly indicated that the best yields were obtained when the planting of the IR 841 variety is done earlier in the season: the best yields in the two communes, whether in SRI practices or in farmers’ practices are obtained when sowing is done in the first half of June and this gradually declines as this sowing is delayed, the lowest yields are obtained when sowing is done in the second half of July. The favourable period for planting this variety in this region where irrigation remains difficult is from the beginning of June to the 15th of July. Rice producers must therefore be sufficiently informed about these aspects.
It should also be noted that the transformation component got an improvement of the parboiled rice quality so that opportunities to sell it beyond the intervention communes have been found during a fair in Banikoara to which some women has participated.
Year 3: Farmers explored and selected the best rice cultivation techniques, though Farmer Field Schools which were set up in each village. Traditional rice cultivation practices and cultivation techniques were tested according to the System of Rice Intensive growing (SRI). The best techniques have been identified on the basis of gross results. In total 333 rice farmers, women in majority, have taken part in the Farmer Field Schools, but not regulary.
To improve the rice processing practice and thus the quality of the parboiled rice, two learning sessions were helt on the best techniques of rice parboiling. 62 rice parboiling women comparerd improved techniques proposed by the project partners with traditional techniques practiced until now. This allowed participant women to identify themselves techniques that give good quality parboiled rice, and that offer other benefits such as saving water, time or firewood. Women participating in these sessions shared their findings with 358 rice parboiling women. To facilitate this, local solderers were trained on manufacturing of parboiling rice trays as well.
Value chain cooperation
Next, the research team analysed the local parboiled rice value chain and conducted a baseline study on the main stakeholders in this value chain, their relations and constraints. The team concluded that a Platform of Innovations on rice is needed. In each municipality, such a platform was set up, to facilitate dialogue, exchanges between the various stakeholders of rice sector and set up action plans. On marketing, it became clear that a rice husking unit in each municipality is needed. These units will collect parboiled rice not yet husked from groups of rice parboiling women and then decorticate it, bag it and put it on the market. Some of these are allready there.