The Cooperative de Production Agricole de la Famille Nazareth (COOPAFAN), created in 2005, is now the main supplier of rice and maize seeds in the west of Côte d’Ivoire and supplies seeds to almost all humanitarian actors working in the field of food security.

Based in Zouan Hounien (West), it is a good example of a humanitarian emergency project that has become a project of economic interest.

In 2004, UNDP supported the implementation of a project to reconstitute the production capital of an association for the benefit of people who had returned to their original localities (Zouan Hounien, Bin Houyé, Toulepleu and Bloléquin) after having left the region following the fighting that was taking place there.

Agricultural inputs, small tools and technical assistance for the resumption of agricultural activity were provided to the first 2,376 households to benefit from the project.

At harvest in 2004, 3,080 tonnes of paddy rice were produced on an area of about 560 ha. In addition, technical and organisational capacity building of the target populations through the creation of school fields has led to the production of 902 ha of lowland rice and 1,563 ha of upland rice of local varieties. Encouraging agronomic yields were recorded on the plots that received inputs compared to the results of the plots outside the project (e.g. lowland rice: 5.5 t/ha of paddy under the project compared to 2.5 t/ha of paddy outside the project).

In 2005, the “Family Project” made its transformation when its beneficiaries set up a production and marketing cooperative (COOPAFAN). The 4,800 members extended their rice and seed production and marketing activities to coffee and cocoa. This new production has led to an increase in the purchase price of the various agricultural crops in the area.

The purchase price of coffee cherries has risen from 75 CFA francs to 175 CFA francs. In 2008, continued support from UNDP enabled COOPAFAN to acquire a rice milling unit, a storage warehouse, an open drying area and weighing equipment. “This multifaceted project is truly one of the best examples of market access for these small-scale farmers,” said Ndolamb Ngokwey, UNDP Resident Representative in Côte d’Ivoire. “The cooperative plays a key role in supporting the return of displaced populations to their places of origin and the resumption of agricultural activity in the western part of the country, which was severely affected by the post-election crisis.

The cooperative’s support and supervision system currently reaches more than 5,400 households directly and approximately 30,000 beneficiaries indirectly. For the 2009-2010 season, the cooperative’s overall turnover reached 84,000,000 CFA francs (US$16,800), of which more than 35% was from rice-related activities (sale of seeds and milled rice).

The structure has made the economic and social well-being of young people and women its priority through the production and marketing of agricultural products, training and socio-economic integration. It has thus promoted the emergence of rice seed producers who are supervised and monitored by LANADA (Laboratoire National d’Appui au Développement Agricole) as part of the CBSS (Community-Based Seed System) project.

They produce about 100 tonnes of rice seeds each year, which are bought back by the cooperative and redistributed to all rice producers in the region.

Its action in favour of women concerns the installation of 34 women heads of household who are traditional producers of “Kabakrou” handmade soaps, an initiative supported jointly by the MTN Foundation and the UNDP, “whose members have remained with the population, despite the difficulties”, recalled Colonel Gnonsekan, former prefect of Blolequin.

Youssouf  Diarra

Photo credits : Youssouf Diarra/PNUD


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