Microloan foundation Womens’ groups at the forefront of the battle to halt the deterioration in rice seed across Asia and Africa
Three of MicroLoan Foundation’s MicroVentures rice groups are the Malawian representatives on an international project to address the alarming deterioration in the quality of rice seed in both Asia and Africa. The first of these groups, the Ulemu Group in Salima, has just scored over 99% for the quality of its first rice seed crop and is now accredited to sell rice seed alongside international dealers.
The Ulemu groups and two other MicroVentures groups became involved in the Emergency Rice Initiative last year. The project which is funded by the UN, the Government of Japan and other international bodies, is working with growers across Africa and Asia to increase the quality of rice seed. MicroLoan Foundation took the initiative and our three groups became the Malawian representatives on this project.
The first of these groups, the Ulemu Group, has just been awarded the highest marks for the quality of its rice seed. The group was awarded a certificate showing scores of over 99% for both purity and quality. They are now an accredited group for selling rice on the international markets. Our MicroVentures farming officers supported them every step of the way and have been the link between the government research body and the international funders.
We now have two other groups north of them working towards the same accreditation.
While these three groups together are not big enough to do international deals, the results so far suggest that if we can move up the scale and quality curve there are significant profits for our borrowers to make in agriculture. Due to the great support of MicroLoan Foundation’s donors, we have the capacity to help these women cut out the middlemen.