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Rice growing as a living income

Organising small growers of rice in Tanzania has given good results. Productivity has increased, incomes have risen and production has become more environmentally friendly then previously. More and more small farmers appreciate that collaboration is sensible and yields results.

Project background

Cultivating rice is an important source of income for many Tanzanian farmers. A great challenge is that prices are at their lowest when the farmers harvest their crop to sell it to the professional buyers. The cause of the drop in price is that during the harvesting period the market is swamped by rice. The buyers themselves often have access to storehouses where they can keep the rice in order to sell it on when the price has risen. The system undermines the ability of farmers to make a living from cultivating rice.

About the project

The farmers needed to experience a rapid rise in profits if the project was not to break down. Dedicated storage facilities needed to be established in which the farmers could collectively store their rice until the sale price was more favourable. At the same time, it was essential that they should receive some sort of advance payment in anticipation of the rice being sold. It was also essential that the project should be locally rooted at government level. This was done by, amongst other things, renting unused government warehouses for the project.

Another core issue was the establishment of the organisation RUDI, the Rural Urban Development Initiative, to take responsibility for the actual organisation of the rice farmers. Since 2007 the Royal Norwegian Society for Development has collaborated with RUDI, and the project was given the name BRITA - Building Rural Income Through Associations.

Our contribution and role

  • Project leadership and quality assurance A-Z
  • Ensuring access to warehousing
  • Securing farmers’ access to credit from local finance institutions in anticipation of selling the rice
  • Securing market access and product development for the producers
  • Ensuring climate-appropriate and sustainable rice production
  • Provide training and advice in strategy, financial management and organisation

Results

  • Many production businesses have doubled their incomes through collective sales of rice and access to credit
  • 8 of 18 production businesses run their own mills and are able to sell processed rice at a higher price
  • All producers have access to warehousing for the storage of rice in anticipation of more favourable market prices
  • In 2011/12 our producers were granted bank loans amounting in all to 558 million Tanzanian shillings (about 2,15 million NOK) as operating credit in connection with rice storage
  • Strengthen skills in organisation, market awareness, product development and negotiations with buyers
  • Collaboration with research organisations has led to a new business area for rice producers in terms of the production of bio-coal from rice husks
  • A steadily increasing proportion of women is taking up leading positions in producer organisations

Contact us

Oyvind Orbeck Sorheim, Director of international development

Mobile: +47 930 22 013
Email: oyvind.orbeck.sorheim@norgesvel.no

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Increased market access to rice farmers