Rice is the main staple food consumed in Senegal contributing to over 30 percent of daily calorie intake. The rice sector has the potential to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, especially for young men and women, by creating businesses that add value. Like invest in large rice milling production line.
The RAP project will provide 1000 starter kits consisting of seed, fertilizer, and irrigation support to vulnerable rice farmers, in particular women and youth groups. About 100 youth groups or individual young entrepreneurs will benefit from project prizes to create or develop businesses and will be accompanied by specific training, coaching, and mentoring.
RAP will build the capacity of 5,300 beneficiaries in total – consisting of farmers, rice millers, traders, and service providers – including 1,300 direct beneficiaries and 4,000 indirect beneficiaries. In addition, 3,000 jobs will be created, especially for young people and women, and 15,000 rice-growing households in the Senegal River valley will be reached.
"Strengthening the rice value chain is critical to enabling economic recovery and ensuring food security in the wake of the pandemic. The ripples of impact will be felt not just by the farmers and traders reached through this program but by tens of thousands of families and by communities across the country,” said Diaka Sall, Country Lead Agriculture at the Mastercard Foundation in Senegal.
In collaboration with the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), five Centers for Mechanized Services (CEMA) will benefit from financial support to develop mechanized and digital services that will benefit at least 8,000 rice farmers, and 50 new jobs will be created directly at the CEMA level.
“We will use our expertise for the development of rural micro-enterprises that can create new opportunities for young people,” said Robert Berlin, Director of Programs, SFSA. “This will integrate innovations adapted to cropping systems and take climate change into account.”
“The knowledge and products resulting from rice research – good agricultural practices, improved seed, digital tools and policy options – will be made available to young men and women through this project, which rightly emphasizes the vital role of youth as agents of change for building resilient livelihoods in the face of COVID-19 and beyond,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr Harold Roy-Macauley.
The project will effectively target women associations to mitigate the gender bias observed and empower them. “My experience shows that training in entrepreneurship in the rice value chain and ICT for agribusiness helps farmers to better understand financial aspects of a business, leading to increased production and productivity," said Ms. Oumou Kalsoum Seck, who produces cattle feed from rice by-products in Sanar Peul village in Senegal
The RAP project implementing partners include the Senegal Ministry of Agriculture, the Syngenta Foundation, the Agricultural Bank (LBA), the National Extension Agency in the Senegal River Valley (SAED), the National Youth Employment Promotion Agency (ANPEJ), the private sector, and producer organizations (UNIS, CIRIZ, Unions, and Sections Villageoises).