ADPA: rice co-operative on the Rusizi Plain
The Rusizi Plain lies next to the border between DRC and Burundi, south of Bukavu and north of Uvira. The people living on the plain suffered throughout the first and second Congolese wars when troops moved across the border and thousands of refugees lived in camps alongside the 8,000 rice farmers eking out a living from small plots.
Today there are thousands of refugees from Burundi and the insecurity continues with several armed groups based in the area.
Decades of conflict and poverty have taken their toll on the people, especially the children. Malnutrition is widespread with many showing advanced signs of kwashiorkor
Happily, the region has begun to move forward thanks to the work of several rice co-operatives, the largest of which is ADPA who are based in Luvungi in the northern part of the plain. They pay a significantly better price than that available to the growers who sell in local markets and they provide credit for example when farmers need to pay school fees. They also provide a base level of medical support and agronomic advice to improve yields.
Ensemble Pour la Difference started working with ADPA in 2014 ago by facilitating a $30,000 loan to fund an order for 450 tonnes of rice from the Bralima Brewery in Bukavu. The loan enabled ADPA to buy and store sufficient rice during the 6 month harvesting period to continue monthly deliveries during the fallow period.
The loan also boosted Bralima’s confidence in ADPA and an annual contract for 650 tonnes was agreed for 2015. Ensemble agreed to increase the loan to $50,000 to facilitate the contract and we maintained our financial support when the order from Bralima was increased still further in 2016. The order now rests at 1000 tonnes and is making a systemic difference to life on the plain as growers improve their housing and ability to feed and educate their children.
Each increase in the order has brought an incremental 1500 rice farmers into the scheme. The cooperative ensures they receive a significantly better price than that available in local markets and they have access to a fund for when they need credit for example to pay school fees. The cooperative also provides a base level of medical support and agronomic advice to improve yields.
Approximately 5000 rice growers now supply ADPA, which means that approximately 30,000 children have felt the benefits. The impact is tangible. They are better fed and live in better houses. They go to school and medicine is affordable when they are ill.
The contract with Bralima and resulting progress has also enabled ADPA to begin implementing plans for producing table rice alongside the rice produced for Bralima. They are moving towards a balanced supply of different qualities of rice, eventually without the need for loans