Support Project for Women Rice Parboilers (PAERIZ)

Areas of Expertise

  • Economic development
  • Gender Equality

Means of Action

  • Development
  • Volunteer cooperation
Country Country

Burkina Faso (Hauts-Bassins, Cascades and Boucle du Mouhoun regions)

Length Length

April 2014 to March 2019

Beneficiaries Beneficiaries

Direct: 2734 women parboilers
Indirect: about 9145 people

Partners Partners

- Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Interprofessional
- Rice Committee of Burkina (CIR-B)
- National Union of Women Rice Parboilers (UNERIZ) and 5 women parboilers’ unions (Bama, Banzon, Founzan, Karfiguéla and Niassan)

Budget Budget

CAD  $6 456 000 :

  • CAD $5 740 000 from GAC
  • CAD $379,200 from CECI

This five-year project aims to contribute towards improving the socio-economic living conditions of women in the rural areas of Hauts-Bassins, Cascades and Boucle du Mouhoun in Burkina Faso. The aim of the Support Project for Women Rice Parboilers (PAERIZ) is to increase the economic power of women parboilers and to promote their empowerment. With this aim in mind, it intends to promote national rice production, by strengthening particularly the capacity of women parboilers to comply with the quality requirements of the market. It also aims to strengthen parboiler organizations so that they become profitable, professional and recognized businesses, and so that they can support the development of the rice industry and to adequately represent the interests of women.

Support for developing and marketing local rice

Parboiling rice is a processing technique that consists of pre-cooking paddy rice to improve its texture and nutritional quality. In Burkina Faso, this is a traditional activity whose technique is passed down from mother to daughter.

In the early 2000s, in the wake of the sector’s privatization, imports of white rice increased, and stocks of paddy rice accumulated. Refusing to witness the sector’s collapse and the gradual disappearance of an ancestral practice, hundreds of Burkinabè women bought the yield of the cooperatives. They began parboiling it and selling it in local markets. 

A first CECI project, carried out as part of its Uniterra volunteer cooperation program between 2009 and 2014, enabled more than a thousand of these parboilers to merge into professional associations. There was an improvement in the working conditions and quality and hygiene standards, a creation of jobs and an increase of generated income, an improvement of food security and nutrition level, etc. The impact of the project was such that Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Agriculture wished to extend the experience. 

Today, through PAERIZ, there are more than 2,700 women parboilers, spread over three regions, that CECI supports. The project promotes the establishment of conditions
enabling parboilers to fully invest in the processing, promotion and marketing of parboiled rice to effectively meet the expectations and quality requirements of the market. The artisanal approach gradually makes way for a more efficient and entrepreneurial approach. The construction of infrastructure, the purchase of adapted equipment or training in improved parboiling techniques have thus clearly helped to improve the quality of rice that is produced – the number of black grains and the ratio of impurity and breakage have thus greatly diminished.

In addition, there is an expansion of business opportunities, with new partnerships, both private and institutional. The Ministry of National Education and Literacy has thus
finalized an agreement to supply parboiled rice to school canteens in the country. Finally, access to loans and credit has increased. In partnership with a financial
institution, a fund was created to facilitate access to credit for rice parboilers who are members of parboiling centres.

Professionalization and capacity building of the Unions

The goal of the National Union of Women Rice Parboilers (UNERIZ) and its member unions is to acquire the organizational skills that are necessary to operate efficiently within the sector, to develop a vision and entrepreneurial skills enabling them to achieve financial profitability, and to be recognized as professional organizations. Changes have been made to the way activities are conducted within the unions. In addition to the development of a strategic vision, there is an increase in skills at several levels, particularly in terms of governance (increased accountability of leaders, more transparent flow of information). Improvements are also visible in terms of management (greater rigor to produce financial statements) and entrepreneurship (acquisition of knowledge favouring the analysis of market profitability).

By being better organized and more entrepreneurial, UNERIZ and its member unions are also in a better position to offer quality services to their members, particularly in terms of access to financing. Some unions are more apt to negotiate loans with the microfinance institutions of their locality, and they are better trained to defend their interests – an increase in the purchase price of parboiled rice by SONAGESS, which bought 90% of the total volume of production in 2016, has thus been obtained. 

Finally, UNERIZ and the unions offer women parboilers various trainings aimed to strengthen their technical and managerial capacities (administrative management, literacy courses, etc.). In the summer of 2017, a process to create three small child care centres on the parboiler work sites was also launched.

Consolidating the status of women parboilers 

Each of the interventions under PAERIZ was conducted with a gender equality approach (GE). In addition to a greater presence of women in various bodies, women
parboilers are speaking more often within their unions, and there is increased visibility and representation of women parboilers and unions in their community. Moreover, access to several resources and their control have improved, especially access to finance, equipment and the market. 

Finally, in regard to developing a favorable environment (institutions/communities sensitive to GE and open-mindedness of men towards women’s participation), progress has been made by taking GE into account in all the strategic documents of UNERIZ and the 5 unions (business plan, development plan, communication plan, etc.). 96 people from the associations have been trained in GE. In 2017, a larger scale awareness-raising process was launched by organizing forum theatres in communities, producing radio programs and organizing discussion workshops with women parboilers’ husbands on themes related to the project’s GE issues.

The Project for Women Rice Parboilers is supported by CECI's Club des ambassadrices.

Project Figures:

Increase in the quantity of rice marketed by the 5 unions between 2016 and September 2017:


Number of women trained in the parboiling technique:


Increase in the total amount of credit granted by financial institutions to the 5 unions between 2014 and 2017:


Documents and news