Developing sustainable rice value chain in Cote d’Ivoire

29 julho 2021
Although rice is a staple food in Cote d’Ivoire, the local production only covers 50% of the country’s consumption, making Cote d’Ivoire highly dependent on imports. Currently the rice sector is highly informal, fragmented and inefficient, and therefore suffers from a lack of competitiveness against imported rice. The rising food insecurity associated with the Covid-19 crisis underlines only the importance of strengthening the production of local rice in the country.

Rice in Cote d’Ivoire is mainly produced by smallholder farmers, who are dependent on rice and other crops for their livelihoods. Smallholders often face low rice productivity, mainly as a result of a limited access to financing, quality seeds, adequate equipment and mechanization, together with poor post-harvest handling.

Contributions towards the improvement of the entire rice value chain - from the implementation of better agricultural practices in rice fields to local rice processing and a more efficient sector organisation - can have a positive impact on the development of the rice sector and help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

Our journey towards small-scale commercial agriculture

In 2018 the Louis Dreyfus Foundation, in partnership with FairMatch Support (FMS) and with the involvement of Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) employees, launched the Boundiali Rice Sector Performance Improvement (BRISPI) project, in the northern part of Cote d’Ivoire, in order to enhance the rice production of smallholder farmers and improve their food security.

The technical assistance program designed by FMS helped improve the production yields of more than 3,000 smallholder farmers by 75% on average. By giving farmers access to markets through the implementation of a sustainable supply chain, the program also helped them transition from subsistence to small-scale commercial farming.

“Thanks to the Foundation's support, which provided training in good agricultural practices, 44% of producers doubled their income. The project also contributed to improving food security for rice producers, helping them cover about 38% of their rice food needs” – comments Mathieu Briard, FMS Executive Director in Cote d’Ivoire.

Ten cooperatives and aggregators were provided with training in order to help them improve their management capacities and support farmers in finding attractive markets for their production. These training sessions prepared the ground for these organisations to play a pivotal role in the future.

The project also facilitated connections between farmers, cooperatives and buyers, thereby creating a profitable business case for everyone involved in the supply chain.

Based on the positive results achieved, LDF has extended the project for another two years. The main focus of the next project phase will be on securing market access for 3,500 farmers from the Korhogo and Boundiali areas in the northern part of Cote d’Ivoire.