The second year of the “Project to improve the nutritional conditions of women and children in the health districts of Garango and Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso”, co-funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and led by the NGO AES-CCC, has just ended.
As part of this project, we are training 2000 rural women rice farmers to improve production (Objective 1) and, at the same time, we are setting up rice processing centres specialising in the étuvage technique to produce better quality rice (paraboiled rice) (Objective 2).
With regard to the first objective, this year we trained 1,300 women rice producers who learned to sow in line (instead of randomly) and understood the importance of early sowing, which is now essential to cope with climate change and reduced seasonal rainfall.
In addition, we have completed the training of all 2000 women involved in the project in the techniques of producing compost from the organic materials available in the village, which leads to the abandonment of chemical fertilisers with economic savings for the families and important benefits for the health of the soil.
Some of these women were then involved in the creation of four small experimental fields where the rice was planted, on the one hand, using the traditional technique used by the women before they became involved in the project, and on the other hand using the compost production and use techniques promoted by Mani Tese. In this way, as time passed and the rice grew, the women were able to compare the results of the two techniques and verify the effectiveness of the techniques they had learned.
It is good to see how this trial motivates and encourages women to use the new techniques and leads them to abandon chemical fertilisers. It is also good to see how many women who are not involved in the project, but who live in the area, see the results of the trial and take an example to improve the cultivation and yield of their fields.
Regarding the second objective, we are very happy to have created four new rice processing centres, training 12 women in the étuvage (parboiling) technique. During this process, the paddy rice undergoes several cycles of chauffage and sechage, i.e. the rice is steamed and then dried before husking. The result is a rice with a physical, organoleptic and nutritional quality superior to classic white rice; a rice that can be sold on the market at a slightly higher price, giving the women who processed it a more attractive profit margin.
For each rice processing centre, sharing sessions were organised, in which the women who had learned the technique showed it to other women in the village (even those not involved in the project). Each centre has been equipped with materials and machinery for the processing process and we have also added a small lighting kit for the women who often work after dark.
The women’s groups in the processing centres were finally accompanied in a process of organising themselves into a cooperative. Training was provided on administrative management and a business plan was prepared to make the processing centres sustainable.
To discover all the stories of the project, visit the dedicated page on the website: https://www.manitese.it/en/project/improvement-nutritional-conditions-women-and-children
Here are some project photos: