The target group is smallholder rice farmers earning under two dollars a day. CARI, which is being implemented by GIZ, also aims to increase women’s participation in value chains. Ulrich Alff, a Comit GmbH consultant who works for the project, explained the structure of the rice value chain in Niger State, where many of the 30,000-40,000 smallholders targeted by the project in Nigeria live.

The rice, grown by men, is sold to the women in the family, who do the parboiling. They then sell the rice to men who do the milling. Afterwards, the millers take the rice to the market for sale. Women’s access to the value chain is heavily restricted because of Sharia law stipulating that they stay indoors. In Nigeria’s Kopi State, rules are not quite so strict, although here, women are denied access to fertile land, capital for investment or improved parboiling activities.

Alff reported that there was a lack of institutions speaking out for women in the region, and that men dominated key decision-making posts, also in much-needed research on parboiling.