Agrifood Systems

The FAO AgrInvest-Food Systems project and the national union of women parboilers in Burkina Faso


In Burkina Faso, rice is a major staple crop and plays a considerable role in the economy, both as a source of income and as an important element in the diet of many households, especially in urban areas. The AgrInvest-Food Systems project of FAO (AgrInvest-FS), - an initiative attracting private investments into agri-food systems aligned with the SDGs - has analysed the investment dynamics of private sector actors in this value chain, mainly focusing on processors (including women parboilers) and producers cooperatives that supply paddy rice to these actors in the west and south-eastern regions of the country.

Over the past three years, the project has been working with the National Union of Women Parboilers (UNERIZ), an organisation supporting its members in accessing services to improve their production. The umbrella organisation of parboiler cooperatives strengthens the technical and management capacities of its members; it facilitates their access to storage equipment and infrastructure and supports them in marketing parboiled rice.

With the technical assistance provided by the AgrInvest-FS, UNERIZ has been able to develop an official business plan to establish a parboiled rice processing and distribution centre. The project will support UNERIZ throughout all the process of enterprise financing from business plan development to the organization of business to business meetings with potential financiers.

The project selected UNERIZ due to its capacity to generate decent jobs for all actors along the value chain, especially for women and young people, supporting the development of more inclusive, yet economically viable, business models that also promote larger sharing of profits and lower transaction costs. In fact, UNERIZ developed a franchise model that involves supporting women to create rice parboiling micro-enterprises.