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HOW CONTEMPORARYAFRICAN FARMERS
ARE CULTIVATING RICE:
HOW TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
RELATE TO MODERN OPPORTUNITIES.
Dr. Pascal GBENOU, Farmer
Chairman of CRCOPR/ROPPA (West Africa Rice Farmers Association)
Founder of the ecological farm-school SAIN (www.sain-benin.org)
Mobile : +229 95405433
Email : gbenoup@gmail.com
CADRE REGIONAL DE CONCERTATION DES ORGANISATIONS
DES PRODUCTEURS DE RIZ DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST
(CRCOPR)
LES AVANCEES DU SRI EN AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST
COMMUNICATION PLAN
1. CRCOPR: BRIEF PRESENTATION
2. CONTEXT ELEMENTS
3. AFRICAN FARMERS TODAY VERSUS THE PREVIOUS
GENERATION
4. IMPROVING AGRICULTURE DESPITE RURAL-TO-
URBAN MIGRATION CONDITIONS
5. THINGS TO SUPPORT
CRCOPR: BRIEF PRESENTATION
• CRCOPR is a regional fact-finding and communicating
organization, established in January 2011 in Bamako, Mali
• It includes federations of the unions and national organizations
of rice producers from fourteen (14) countries: Benin, Burkina
Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,
Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo
• CRCOPR provides a space for dialogue, consultation and action
by and among the West African Rice Producers' Organizations
• CRCOPR advocates and facilitates access to its members'
services to improve the resilience and performance of family
rice farms
The CRCOPR is structured around the following organs :
• A general meeting
• A board of directors
• An executive office / technical coordination
CONTEXT ELEMENTS
• West Africa, with a total area of 6.1 million km2, has 236 million hectares of
arable land available for a growing population. Current population of West
Africa represents a significant number of rice consumers, in excess of 350
million, and the fastest rate of population growth of any region. The
urbanization rate is estimated at 45 % (CSAO/OCDE, 2016).
• Rice production on family rice farms in the West African region has been
marked for years by the adverse effects of climate change, with floods,
droughts, increased salinity in mangrove areas, etc.
• CRCOPR has been particularly involved in promoting rice-growing methods to
limit the adverse effects of climate change
1. African farmers today are different from their previous
generation, and different from the images or stereotypes that people
outside of Africa may have of African farmers.
• African farmers today have, on average, more education than their
fathers and mothers, more open to new ideas
• African farmers are more connected than before, e.g., mobile phones,
television
• African farmers are getting market-oriented
• African farmers are becoming very conscious of climate change
• Farmers are becoming aware of the need for collective action, i.e.,
cooperation and group approaches.
• Farmers more and more like to be involved in knowledge generation
2. Any efforts to improve agriculture need to take account of the
extensive rural-to-urban migration which has been going on in
Africa for decades, and will continue.
• The dynamic has not just been due to urban ‘pull’ but is driven by
rural ‘push
• There is a younger generation of farmers – despite movement to
cities -- which is more educated and eager for progressive agriculture
as urban opportunities are few than previously anticipated.
• This generation should be a source of hope for African countries
3. Things to be avoided
• Mechanization that is tied in to large-scale, capital-intensive operations,
which can only be financed with external funding, where African workers
are just laborers. This depreciates human capital.
• With this, there should be an avoidance of land grabs
• Avoid agricultural operations that turn African workers into agricultural
laborers or plantation workers, with no prospect or opportunity for
becoming managers and entrepreneurs who can make economies thrive.
• Do not accelerate movement to monoculture, makes farmers vulnerable
• Do not promote large-scale farming, with foreign capital as this will
proletarianize the agricultural labor force, driving African societies toward
greater instability.
• A. Assist farm households to become fully self-sufficient plus
producing an agricultural surplus for sale – this will require
development of market infrastructure and opportunities, also small-
scale mechanization
• B. Invest in human resources and human capabilities – Africa has
abundant resources;
• C. Make special efforts to give women opportunities for education
and advancement
• D. Make rural communities livable and attractive places to be –
rural modern facilities, internet access, etc… -- only way to make
urban areas also liveable places to reside
4. Things to support
Things to support (continuing)
• D. Support farmers’ organization such as cooperatives and farmer
companies to have more bargaining power with market entities.
• E. Deal with climate-change – particularly dealing with water
shortages; need to reduce water requirements for cropping, especially
for rice; support SRI for rice and SCI for other crops
• F. Improve soil fertility – restore soil organic matter!!
 Most African countries and regions have a lot of seasonal biomass
 Farmers may need tools and implements like shredders for
collecting/cutting, transporting, processing and applying compost
or mulch
SRI methods have contributed in West Africa,
among other things, to:
• Improving yields to nearly 130 % in Senegal's
low-lying system,
• Reducing the amount of water needed in
rice plots in northern Mali by 80 %, and
• Reducing the amount of seeds required per
hectare by 75 %
SOME PHOTOS OF SRI IN WEST AFRICA
SRI FIELDs IN BENIN
SRI SITE VISIT IN BURKINA-FASO
PLANTING SRI IN NIGER
PLANTING SRI IN BURKINA-FASO
1908 Rice cultivation in Africa: How traditional practices relate to modern opportunities
Présentation de Pascal GBENOU
THANK YOU

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  • 1. HOW CONTEMPORARYAFRICAN FARMERS ARE CULTIVATING RICE: HOW TRADITIONAL PRACTICES RELATE TO MODERN OPPORTUNITIES. Dr. Pascal GBENOU, Farmer Chairman of CRCOPR/ROPPA (West Africa Rice Farmers Association) Founder of the ecological farm-school SAIN (www.sain-benin.org) Mobile : +229 95405433 Email : gbenoup@gmail.com
  • 2. CADRE REGIONAL DE CONCERTATION DES ORGANISATIONS DES PRODUCTEURS DE RIZ DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST (CRCOPR) LES AVANCEES DU SRI EN AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST
  • 3. COMMUNICATION PLAN 1. CRCOPR: BRIEF PRESENTATION 2. CONTEXT ELEMENTS 3. AFRICAN FARMERS TODAY VERSUS THE PREVIOUS GENERATION 4. IMPROVING AGRICULTURE DESPITE RURAL-TO- URBAN MIGRATION CONDITIONS 5. THINGS TO SUPPORT
  • 4. CRCOPR: BRIEF PRESENTATION • CRCOPR is a regional fact-finding and communicating organization, established in January 2011 in Bamako, Mali • It includes federations of the unions and national organizations of rice producers from fourteen (14) countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo • CRCOPR provides a space for dialogue, consultation and action by and among the West African Rice Producers' Organizations • CRCOPR advocates and facilitates access to its members' services to improve the resilience and performance of family rice farms The CRCOPR is structured around the following organs : • A general meeting • A board of directors • An executive office / technical coordination
  • 5. CONTEXT ELEMENTS • West Africa, with a total area of 6.1 million km2, has 236 million hectares of arable land available for a growing population. Current population of West Africa represents a significant number of rice consumers, in excess of 350 million, and the fastest rate of population growth of any region. The urbanization rate is estimated at 45 % (CSAO/OCDE, 2016). • Rice production on family rice farms in the West African region has been marked for years by the adverse effects of climate change, with floods, droughts, increased salinity in mangrove areas, etc. • CRCOPR has been particularly involved in promoting rice-growing methods to limit the adverse effects of climate change
  • 6. 1. African farmers today are different from their previous generation, and different from the images or stereotypes that people outside of Africa may have of African farmers. • African farmers today have, on average, more education than their fathers and mothers, more open to new ideas • African farmers are more connected than before, e.g., mobile phones, television • African farmers are getting market-oriented • African farmers are becoming very conscious of climate change • Farmers are becoming aware of the need for collective action, i.e., cooperation and group approaches. • Farmers more and more like to be involved in knowledge generation
  • 7. 2. Any efforts to improve agriculture need to take account of the extensive rural-to-urban migration which has been going on in Africa for decades, and will continue. • The dynamic has not just been due to urban ‘pull’ but is driven by rural ‘push • There is a younger generation of farmers – despite movement to cities -- which is more educated and eager for progressive agriculture as urban opportunities are few than previously anticipated. • This generation should be a source of hope for African countries
  • 8. 3. Things to be avoided • Mechanization that is tied in to large-scale, capital-intensive operations, which can only be financed with external funding, where African workers are just laborers. This depreciates human capital. • With this, there should be an avoidance of land grabs • Avoid agricultural operations that turn African workers into agricultural laborers or plantation workers, with no prospect or opportunity for becoming managers and entrepreneurs who can make economies thrive. • Do not accelerate movement to monoculture, makes farmers vulnerable • Do not promote large-scale farming, with foreign capital as this will proletarianize the agricultural labor force, driving African societies toward greater instability.
  • 9. • A. Assist farm households to become fully self-sufficient plus producing an agricultural surplus for sale – this will require development of market infrastructure and opportunities, also small- scale mechanization • B. Invest in human resources and human capabilities – Africa has abundant resources; • C. Make special efforts to give women opportunities for education and advancement • D. Make rural communities livable and attractive places to be – rural modern facilities, internet access, etc… -- only way to make urban areas also liveable places to reside 4. Things to support
  • 10. Things to support (continuing) • D. Support farmers’ organization such as cooperatives and farmer companies to have more bargaining power with market entities. • E. Deal with climate-change – particularly dealing with water shortages; need to reduce water requirements for cropping, especially for rice; support SRI for rice and SCI for other crops • F. Improve soil fertility – restore soil organic matter!!  Most African countries and regions have a lot of seasonal biomass  Farmers may need tools and implements like shredders for collecting/cutting, transporting, processing and applying compost or mulch
  • 11. SRI methods have contributed in West Africa, among other things, to: • Improving yields to nearly 130 % in Senegal's low-lying system, • Reducing the amount of water needed in rice plots in northern Mali by 80 %, and • Reducing the amount of seeds required per hectare by 75 %
  • 12. SOME PHOTOS OF SRI IN WEST AFRICA SRI FIELDs IN BENIN SRI SITE VISIT IN BURKINA-FASO PLANTING SRI IN NIGER PLANTING SRI IN BURKINA-FASO