CORDOVA.- Sierra Leonethe West African country, is known throughout the world for its story of child soldiers and blood diamonds. He suffered a decade-long war that ended with the intervention of foreign troops. With 8.2 million inhabitants, it is among the countries with the worst standard of living in the world according to data from international organizations. The annual per capita income is only about US$420. there he works Jorge Lopez Menendezfounding partner of Warc Group, who showed on their social networks a group of women celebrating that they multiplied by ten the historical yield they had of rice.
“New variety, new technology, know how. forever change…Let’s hope it helps so that there will never be hunger again. Ten harvests in one, only with technology”, she completed. Born in Bahia Blanca, works with groups in Sierra Leone for ten years; in Ghana and the Ivory Coast for less; They are very different countries.
Warc Group is a company that contributes technology to subsistence agriculture with the idea that it leaves that characteristic and can be used for development. Like any commercial firm, it seeks to make money, but it is guided by some of the objectives set by the United Nations, such as fight poverty, promote equality between men and women in job opportunities and the environmental care.
in dialogue with THE NATION, López Menéndez says that, as a rule, half of the producers they work with must be women, as must the company’s staff (60 people in Sierra Leone and 100 in Ghana). He explains that of the income that women receive, 70% or 80% goes to their families compared to 30% for men: “If we work with them, we work with and for the next generations”.
Regarding what he recounted on his social networks, he points out that these rice producers have already left the training ground with which they start and are working on their own batches.
“To begin with, we work in our own fields and hire local people who gradually incorporate technology, no-till, rotation, soil leveling -describes-. As they see how it works, as they become convinced, we reduce our land and they move on to their lots. Today we have a rice farm and a field where we are testing technology”.
Between Sierra Leone and Ghana, the company -which has international financing- works with 120,000 producers. The idea is to reach a million in five years.
López Menéndez explains that, in the case of rice, in Sierra Leone went from producing 300 kilos per hectare to 3,000: “But, after the great famines, it is impossible for them to sell it to us. They keep it. We do rotations that are also going well and those grains do sell all of them. In Ghana, with maize, they do sell more.”
The per capita rice consumption in Sierra Leone is 220 kilos per year; It is the second country in the world on that list; in Argentina it is two kilos/year. It has the environmental conditions to produce it. In addition to rice, Warc also works with other crops, such as corn, beans and soybeans -they call them “cash crop”- that they do market them.
Emphasizes and confirms that Africa is the future. “There are studies that show that it has 400 million hectares without production, which is equivalent to ten Argentina in productive potential. As it is a tropical place you have to be careful when developing the lands because they are fragile. Direct seeding applies soil care”.