Over 5000 rice value chain actors in Senegal to benefit from youth-focused COVID-19 response

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Saint Louis – Senegal, 23 March 2021 To support the government of Senegal’s efforts in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on vulnerable farming households, AfricaRice and the Mastercard Foundation have joined forces to roll out a youth-focused intervention, called the Rice Agripreneurship Project (RAP).


Over two years RAP will boost the resilience of the rice value chain and its actors in the Senegal River Valley focusing on three main components: (i) emergency supply of inputs and capacity building of rice value chain actors, (ii) business development and access to finance and the market, and (iii) the development and use of digital technologies for agribusiness.


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.


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).


About AfricaRice

The Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) is a pan-African Center of Excellence for rice research, development and capacity building. It contributes to reducing poverty, achieving food and nutrition security and improving livelihoods of farmers and other rice value-chain actors in Africa by increasing the productivity and profitability of rice-based agri-food systems, while ensuring the sustainability of natural resources.

AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center. It is also a pan-African intergovernmental research association that currently includes 28 member states, including Senegal.

AfricaRice headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. Staff members are located in Côte d’Ivoire and in research stations in Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.


For more information on AfricaRice, please visit www.AfricaRice.org


About Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.


The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.


For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org


About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program

The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial service providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.


For more on the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, please visit https://mastercardfdn.org/covid19-recovery-resilience-program/.


For more information, please contact :

Amadou Mbodj, Country Lead, Program Communications, Mastercard Foundation, Senegal

Tel. +221 77638 1194, email: ambodj@mastercardfdn.org;


Mandiaye Diagne, RAP Project Coordinator, AfricaRice, St Louis, Senegal

Tel. +221 772748109, email: m.diagne@cgiar.org

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