On 16 March, the first National Quality Charter for Local Rice was ratified by the Guinean government. A measure aimed at improving the competitiveness of local rice confronted by imported rice, as well as at reducing poverty. Patrice Kamano, research analyst with the Strategy and Development Bureau (SDB) of the Agriculture Ministry, elaborates on this measure backed by GRET and the MGE (Maison Guinéenne de l’Entrepreneur – Club of Guinean Entrepreneurs) under the Acorh project.
In Touch: Why adopt a national charter to guarantee the quality of Guinean local rice?
Patrice Kamano. The National Quality Charter for Local Rice brings together quality criteria for both paddy rice and clear rice (parboiled and husked) as well as the rules defined by the value chain’s stakeholders, from the producer to the trader, with a view to producing a rice type which complies with the demands of the Guinean consumers. Thanks to this charter we are hoping to improve the competitiveness of local rice as it is up against imported rice, and increase the added value for the professionals in the value chain (better prices and higher income). The heart of the challenge is to improve the organoleptic quality and the purity.
In Touch: How did this charter come about?
Patrice Kamano. The government, with the backing of its technical and financial partners, initiated meetings between the various stakeholders in the value chain to debate on the subject of quality. Consumers, too, were consulted. The organisations representing rice producers, processors and traders as well as the government’s technical services worked at both regional and national level to define together all the correct practices for each link in the value chain. These correct practices were put down in writing in a guide, which the charter now officialises. Indeed, the charter is is now being validated by an interministerial order, and will be able to be used for any business transaction involving rice as well as for drawing up specific requirements, such as for the Bora Maalé mangrove rice collective trademark. The SDB was tasked with dealing with the Ministries of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and Private Sector Promotion, as well as with monitoring trhe process right up to its registration in the country’s official gazette (the Journal officiel de la République). I personally carried out this assignment.
In Touch: What are the challenges facing the charter’s application?
Patrice Kamano. The charter is to be circulated to all technical departments in all ministries and used in thought processes regarding promoting national production and contributing to higher income for the stakeholders. Government departments are supposed to take up this charter so as to include the quality issues in their technical support and popularisation initiatives. My proposals are such as to further the development of rice production in order to obtain paddy rice of satisfactory quantity and quality, and support processing by bringing in improved and efficient parboiling equipment as well as modern husking machines fitted with stone removers to reduce the amount of impurities. The value chain’s stakeholders are to use this charter to ensure compliance with the local rice quality standards. The farmers’ organisations will have the responsibility of circulating the charter at the grassroots level. I alert the government’s technical and financial partners to the importance of complementary projects for rice quality: advocacy, sharing and applying the charter, organising workshops and providing specific support to the stakeholders.
For further information on the Acorh project
To see the interview with the chairwoman of the Bora Malé Network in Guinea
Read tehe national charter to guarantee the quality of Guinean rice (in French)