Article contributed by SARD-SC ‘Rice component’ team
(Abiba Omar, Josey Kamanda and Sidi Sanyang)
After graduating in
accountancy and management, 29-year old Loki Charles
Cocou worked as a part-time teacher and gave private lessons at home in
Cotonou, Benin. However, his income was insufficient for the needs of his wife
and three children. Consequently, he returned to Bantè, his home village,
located in the center of Benin, about 292 km from Cotonou.
Most farmers in Bantè produce yam and maize for
sale and subsistence, as well as cotton and cashew as cash crops. Until
recently, rice was produced on a small scale and rice farmers were not
organized into farmer cooperatives.
After returning to his village, Loki grew rice
and, with support from the nongovernmental organization ‘Enterprise territoire et développement’
(ETD), he joined the rice entrepreneurs network ‘Réseau des entreprises de
services et organisations de producteurs’ (RESOP) and started to process rice under
contractual arrangements with rice farmers.
low (average of 2 tons per hectare),
the quality of paddy supplied by farmers was
poor, and the
quality of his milled rice was not good enough for the market. Consequently, as
his profit was insufficient to repay his loans on time, pay his children’s
school fees, and cover the cost of living of his family, he was obliged to
2014, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and the national agricultural research institute ‘Institut
national de recherche agricole du Bénin’ (INRAB) established a rice value chain
innovation platform (IP) in Bantè with members comprising rice seed producers,
input dealers, rice farmers, extension agents, NGOs, rice millers, policy
makers, microfinance institutions, traders, transporters, research and media
members were sensitized on the need to work together to address their
challenges. AfricaRice trained rice farmers on quality seed production and good
agricultural practices (GAPs) and provided quality seed of improved rice
varieties, farming and processing equipment (power tillers, threshers and milling
|Loki Charles using the milling machine|
by the local extension agent, IP facilitator and local NGOs, many farmers
joined the IP and adopted new cropping techniques. The results were immediate and
amazing: rice yields increased to 4-5 tons per hectare. This boosted Loki’s
confidence and he created his own rice processing enterprise called ‘Entreprise
de transformation du riz du Bénin’ (ETRARIZ).
ETRARIZ enterprise purchases paddy from farmers and engages women to clean it
to get rid of the impurities. The paddy is then milled to remove husks, polished
and sorted into long grain, medium-sized grain and broken rice.
the end of this process, the women remove diseased grains from the milled rice and
pack the finished products into bags of 1, 5, 10 and 25 kg. The rice is sold
under the brand name “IBILE” in local
and regional markets.
enterprise employs five permanent staff and four temporary staff. With the use
of the milling machine provided to the IP by AfricaRice, the quality of his
milled rice significantly improved and his rice can now compete favorably with
imported rice. AfricaRice has also supported his participation in fairs to
promote his products.
2016, he processed about 300 tons of paddy and made a net profit of more than 1,600,000
FCFA (about US$ 2,880). His business
is now profitable and has brought in wealth and opportunities
to his family. Based on this success,
Loki is planning to expand the capacity of his rice processing unit to 500 tons
According to Loki, the implementation of the IP approach
is an excellent thing. “We received training in good agricultural practices,
leadership, and contractual arrangements and received good equipment. Now we work
together and improve our outputs. It has brought a big change in the living
conditions of my family and education for my children".
Loki is one of the thousands of IP stakeholders
who have benefited from the African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded project ‘Support to Agricultural Research for Development of
Strategic Crops in Africa’ (SARD-SC), for which the rice component is implemented
In addition to its support to farmers, seed
producers and millers, the SARD-SC project also helped women rice processors to
improve the quality of their parboiled rice using good parboiling practices and
improved parboiling equipment.
Over 745 women parboilers from three villages in Benin (Ajante, Agoua, and Bantè) are members of the Bantè IP. As of July 2017, the Bantè IP had 1,822 members, 41% of which were women.