Between bursts of success and economic empowerment: Fambaye DIOP a successful rice farmer

Fambaye DIOP within the production unit of GIE xaritu Djëkërem. Photo credit: Jean Baptiste DIOUF, 2023 / UN Women.

Richard-Toll, Senegal – At dawn, under the emerging light of day, a large tarpaulin borders a rice production unit. Nearby, a flock of sheep bleats in harmony with the wind. At the entrance to the factory, an imposing stall proudly displays agri-food and health products resulting from rice processing. This visual enchantment illuminates the faces of four women seated on a mat sifting rice bran.

At the back of the main room, a rice huller machine is running at full speed, emitting a deafening noise. Nearby, an elegant woman with a slim figure stands, crowned with an imposing blue turban embroidered in red, which matches perfectly with her outfit of the day. This is Fambaye DIOP, a farmer and rice producer living in Richard-Toll, a town located in the northwest of Senegal, where she farms her land.

Dedicated to her task, Fambaye is a successful entrepreneur who operates across the entire rice value chain. A courageous woman and tireless mother, she is also the president of the Economic Interest Group (EIG) “Xaritu djëkerëm” (friend of her husband in French). Having taken a liking to work early on due to limited family income, Fambaye confides: “I abandoned my studies very early to earn a living, because my family was struggling to make ends meet. »

Carrying courage as her standard, with the aim of improving the well-being of those close to her, she started small businesses, such as the sale of donuts, local snacks and fish, before launching into agriculture in 2005 . “Throughout my life, I have been guided by the desire not to be an object woman. I went into entrepreneurship knowing that many people tried to discourage me, but I held on and was able to flourish in agriculture. »

Fambaye DIOP within the production unit of GIE xaritu Djëkërem. Photo credit: Jean Baptiste DIOUF, 2023 / UN Women.

To begin her new life as a farmer, Fambaye chose rice farming. Indeed, in Richard Toll, as in all the localities of the Senegal River valley, rice is the flagship cereal to cultivate. Very quickly, she managed to generate income and sell her stock of paddy rice at a rate of 6,000 francs per 100 kg bag.
An entrepreneur at heart, she and the members of her GIE became aware of the possibility of increasing their profits by transforming paddy rice into a finished product intended for consumption. “Industrialists bought the paddy rice that we grew at very low prices. So, we decided to find premises to process and market our products ourselves. »

This is the start of a new adventure aimed at strengthening the economic empowerment of women members of the GIE. Fambaye confides: “The equipment was expensive, but we managed to organize ourselves to acquire it and produce excellent quality rice promoting better health for consumers. ". Beyond quality, quantity is also there because the GIE manages to produce three thousand (3000) tonnes of rice per year. She assures: “We could even produce a lot more if we had better access to land. Of the 80 hectares that we cultivate, only 10 hectares are ours. »

Today, Fambaye aspires to help make rice self-sufficiency a reality in Senegal, where in 2016 each resident consumes on average 100 kg of rice per year (according to the European Investment Bank). However, it faces many challenges in marketing and distributing its products on a large scale.

She participates in important exhibition and networking meetings, such as the Dakar International Fair (FIDAK), to sell her products, but this remains insufficient in her eyes. “I participate in many fairs to sell my products, but it is clear that we still lack visibility and that local populations prefer to buy imported rice. », confides Fambaye.

To provide an effective response to this situation, UN Women Senegal launched the Buy from Women digital platform in December 2023, which allows rice farmers and producers to market their products more easily. “We are delighted with the launch of this platform which will certainly facilitate our access to the market, knowing that the visibility and distribution of our products are major challenges that we face and which we wish to address as quickly as possible. »

Wearing a radiant smile, Fambaye believes in a promising future and feels very proud when thinking about her journey and everything she has accomplished. “I feel fulfilled and am very proud to know that I am actively participating in job creation within the country. We currently employ 17 people, plus day laborers that we recruit as needed. I am especially happy to have supervised four (4) young people who today are independent and have their own production units. »

The products marketed by Fambaye DIOP and the GIE “Xaritu djëkëreum” are available on the Buy from Women digital sales platform, accessible on the web at www.buyfromwomen.sn and on the Google Play Store.

For more information :

This story was written by Abdoulaye Mamadou SOUKOUNA, Communication and Knowledge Management Manager, UN Women Senegal, abdoulaye.soukouna@unwomen.org, +221777682197.

Photo credits: Jean Baptiste DIOUF / Visual communications officer / UN Women Senegal

From success to economic empowerment: Fambaye DIOP, a successful rice farmer

Richard-Toll, Senegal – Under the early morning light, a large tarpaulin borders a rice production unit. Nearby, a flock of sheep beats in harmony with the wind. At the entrance of the factory, an imposing stall proudly displays agri-food and sanitary products resulting from rice processing. This visual enchantment brightens the faces of four women sitting on a mat, sieving rice bran.

At the back of the main room, a rice hulling machine runs at full speed, emitting a deafening noise. Nearby, an elegant woman with a slender silhouette stands, crowned with an impressive blue turban embroidered in red, perfectly matching her outfit of the day. This is Fambaye DIOP, a rice farmer and producer residing in Richard-Toll, a city located in north-western Senegal, where she runs her farm.

Devoted to her task, Fambaye is a successful entrepreneur who operates throughout the rice value chain. A courageous woman and a tireless mother, she is also the president of the Economic Interest Group (EIG) “Xaritu djëkerëm” (friend of her husband in French). Having early acquired a taste for work due to her family's modest income, Fambaye confesses, “I dropped out of school very early to make a living since my family struggled to make ends meet.”

Carrying courage as a banner, with the goal of improving the well-being of her loved ones, she engages in various small businesses, such as selling fritters, local snacks, and fish, before venturing into agriculture in 2005. “Throughout my life, I have been guided by the desire not to be an objectified woman. I ventured into entrepreneurship knowing that many people tried to discourage me, but I held on, and I was able to thrive in agriculture.”

To start her new life as a farmer, Fambaye chose rice cultivation. Indeed, in Richard Toll, as in all the localities of the Senegal River Valley, rice is the flagship cereal to grow. Very quickly, she manages to generate income and sell her paddy rice at the rate of 6000 francs per 100 kg sack.

Entrepreneurs at heart, she and the members of her EIG soon realize the possibility of increasing their earnings by transforming paddy rice into a finished product for consumption. “The industrialists bought the paddy rice we cultivated at very low prices. So, we decided to find a place to process and market our products ourselves.”

This marks the beginning of a new adventure aimed at strengthening the economic empowerment of the women members of the EIG. Fambaye says, “The equipment was expensive, but we managed to organize ourselves to acquire it and produce excellent quality rice that promotes better consumer health.” Beyond quality, quantity is also on the agenda as the EIG manages to produce three thousand (3000) tons of rice per year. She ensures, “We could even produce much more if we had better access to land. Of the 80 hectares we cultivate, only 10 hectares belong to us.”

Today, Fambaye aspires to contribute to making rice self-sufficiency a reality in Senegal, where in 2016 each inhabitant consumed an average of 100 kg of rice per year (according to the European Investment Bank). However, she faces numerous challenges in terms of marketing and distributing her products on a large scale.
She participates in major exhibition and networking events, such as the International Fair of Dakar (FIDAK), to sell her products, but she finds it insufficient. “I participate in many fairs to sell my products, but it is clear that we still lack visibility and that local populations prefer to buy imported rice,” says Fambaye.

To provide an effective response to this situation, UN Women Senegal launched the Buy from Women digital platform in December 2023, allowing rice farmers and producers to more easily market their products. “We are delighted with the launch of this platform, which will undoubtedly facilitate our access to the market, knowing that visibility and distribution of our products are major challenges we face and wish to overcome as soon as possible.”

With a radiant smile, Fambaye believes in a promising future and feels very proud when reflecting on her journey and all that she has accomplished. “I feel fulfilled and am very proud to know that I am actively contributing to job creation in the country. We currently employ 17 people, in addition to daily workers whom we recruit as needed. I am especially pleased to have mentored four (4) young people who are now independent and have their own production units.”

The products marketed by Fambaye DIOP and the EIG “Xaritu djëkëreum” are available on the Buy from Women digital platform, accessible on the web at www.buyfromwomen.sn and on the Google Play Store.

For more information:

Abdoulaye Mamadou SOUKOUNA
Communication and Knowledge Management Officer, UN Women Senegal
abdoulaye.soukouna@unwomen.org
+221777682197

Photo credits: Jean Baptiste DIOUF / Visual Communication Officer / UN Women Senegal

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