At the end of 2018, “Böra Maalé Fanyi” , or “quality Guinean mangrove rice”, became the first collective processed agricultural product registered in West and Central Africa.
Developed in the plains and the estuary islands of Lower Guinea, parboiled mangrove rice, called “Böra Maalé” in Soussou, is produced from rain-fed wetland rice cultivation (which means it is not irrigated). This agricultural technique requires specific layouts and technical know-how, with little or no input of fertilizers or pesticides. Greatly appreciated by Guineans, this rice is sold at a higher price than other local rice (+25 %) and imported rice.
The method of cultivation, varieties used and processing techniques (the rice is parboiled before husking) all give Böra Maalé the characteristics underlying its popularity.
This mangrove rice has great sales potential. It is affordable for all households, in particular the poorest, who tend to mix it with imported rice. In addition, “Böra Maalé Fanyi” is a source of income for many rural households involved in its production, processing and marketing.
Stakeholders in this value chain are gradually becoming organised and have developed collective actions to pool their resources and defend their interests. Thanks to GRET’s interventions, the Guinean centre for entrepreneurs (MGE) and other stakeholders, the downstream segment of the value chain (groups of women parboilers, huskers and shopkeepers) has gradually become more structured. A quality charter listing best practices (in french) was also drawn up jointly for use by all stakeholders in the value chain.
One of the main challenges was to avoid or minimize the sale of other local parboiled rice under the name “Böra Maalé” in Conakry. It was also necessary to ensure that the added-value related to the product’s characteristics would go to the stakeholders in the value chain, and incentivize them to invest in rice cultivation and processing activities. This is how the idea of a quality label emerged as an effective means to highlight and protect parboiled mangrove rice.
The importance of the quality label
The creation of a collective brand was therefore retained as a first stage to test an interprofessional system to highlight and promote this quality mangrove rice.
A collective brand does not require any external monitoring (system for self-monitoring by the owner of the brand), but it enables synergies to be created between various interventions and stakeholders focusing on a territorial approach for the promotion of locally processed products.
The “Böra Maalé Fanyi” brand, which is mainly aimed at a niche market with higher added-value, was created in 2014 and received official approval in 2015. The brand is backed by an interprofessional organisation called the “Böra Maalé Network”, made up of Guinean representatives from the various professions in the value chain. With support from MGE, since it was set up, the network has already enabled the packaging and delivery of 11,650 kg of rice (mainly in packets of 1 to 5 kg). This amounts to approximately 400 to 500 kg every three months. The rice is sold to supermarkets, restaurants and individuals.
The first collective processed agricultural product brand to be officially registered with the OAPI
Today, the brand is officially registered with the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI), which is the common industrial property agency for its 17 member States in West and Central Africa. “Böra Maalé Fanyi” is now the first collective processed agricultural product brand in the OAPI area!
In order to develop the brand and make it sustainable and autonomous, GRET and MGE are continuing to strengthen the technical and financial capacities of the “Böra Maalé network”. Strengthening of synergies in actions between stakeholders upstream and downstream is also central in actions to contribute to the growth of the brand. Lastly, the development of advocacy actions is also a priority, for better inclusion of quality approaches based on multi-stakeholder consultation, and with a view to promoting local value chains in public policies (agricultural policy, trade and tax policies).