Société Sénégalaise des Filières Alimentaires (SFA) is a rice processing company in northern Senegal that sources paddy rice from 1,500 smallholder farmers in the Senegal River valley.
The white rice it processes is consumed primarily in the capital, Dakar, under a local brand, Terral. In a country where more than 70% of rice is imported and domestic consumption is expected to surpass population growth, rice processors and outgrowers are at the forefront of efforts to boost rice production and make Senegal more food self-sufficient.
Senegal’s rice industry is unique, with good genetics and outgrower irrigation schemes that support high yields. However, with production lagging behind consumption, the Senegalese government is working to bring them into line through domestic production goals and caps on imports. SFA is in a strong position to take advantage of these market dynamics, but is still bouncing back from losses from lower than average prices and processing delays from growing pains with new machinery. To become sustainable, SFA will need to scale rapidly and double its capacity by 2021.
SFA is working with the SDU to expand its buying and extension team. This team will establish formal, transparent relationships with rice growers from the Grande Union de Boundoum, a network of 3,500 farmers from surrounding villages. Through its relationship with the union and local bank, SFA is developing a lead farmer network and providing crucial training and monitoring to oversee the buying process. SFA is building on its strong relationship with its existing outgrowers, as well as increasing the number of contracted outgrowers and providing support to promote better agronomic techniques and the use of double cropping. This support will lead to dramatic increases in the volumes and quality of rice the company sources from smallholders. Input financing for growers from Senegal’s main agricultural bank, CNCAS, is also supporting the project in achieving these objectives.