Heineken was looking for rice for her brewery Bralima in DR Congo. Six rice cooperatives in the Ruzizi Plain had insufficient working capital to buy the members’ rice for processing and delivery. In the first year, with Agriterra’ s advice, the cooperatives were able to take out a loan at Equity Bank and buy 1500 tons of rice from the members and resell it to the Brewery. In the second year, in spite of Covid-19, floods and lack of security, the cooperatives managed to again deliver the agreed amount of 1360 tons.
Bralima paid for half the cost of the advice to the rice cooperatives. With that Agriterra could also train the cooperatives in financial and cooperative management, governance and bookkeeping. At Farmer Field Schools better growing techniques to increase the yield of rice were learned.
The farmers have been paying off the loans and interest properly. The brewery is satisfied with the rice quality and delivery period. Agriterra is now advising the farmers and cooperatives on how to decrease their cost and increase their margins. For the cooperative members this means a guaranteed sales market for their rice and for a reasonable price. 1500 farmers are benefitting from this public-private partnership. In the short term Agriterra will be able to gradually withdraw from the triangle cooperatives-brewery-banks which will then continue to function independently.