Six Guinean women wearing white hold baskets where they sift rice

Kébè Lamah, an unwavering woman in Guinean rice

11 October 2023
ITC News

The Women’s Agro-pastoral Union of Koulé, which Lamah founded, has become a model of success in Forested Guinea 

Kèbé Lamah came from nothing. After losing both her parents, she didn’t think she’d be able to continue her education after high school because she had no financial support. But Lamah managed to conquer this obstacle and earned a degree in breeding from the National School of Agriculture and Livestock in Macenta.  

In 2010, after unsuccessfully trying to join the public service, she formed the Women’s Agro-pastoral Union of Koulé. The cooperative brought together two groups of 25 women.  

The Women’s Agro-pastoral Union specializes in the production, processing and marketing of agro-pastoral products. It contributes to the development of the value chain of rice, as well as the promotion of local rice to the world market.  

My greatest pride is that I am a role model in my community, as I have managed to build a company nationally.
Guinean woman in brown dress walks through rice paddies
My greatest pride is that I am a role model in my community, as I have managed to build a company nationally.
Kèbé Lamah
Women’s Agro-pastoral Union of Koulé

From grains to paddies 

The Women’s Agro-pastoral Union has become a model of success in the region. Thanks to the support of the INTEGRA programme, in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Women’s Agro-pastoral Union has seen rapid growth.  

The cooperative has now expanded from Koulé to Macenta, Lola and N'Zérékoré, and comprises 17 groups with a total of 500 women. 

Owning nearly 1,000 hectares of agricultural land, the cooperative has become a leader in the rice sector and helps feed communities by producing local organic products. In 2022, it produced 300 bags of rice and created 97 jobs, including 51 for women.  

Women all along the value chain have received training and support for health and safety, storage techniques and sales prospecting.  

‘I would like to express my gratitude to the INTEGRA programme for its support, as it came at a critical time for our cooperative, providing considerable support that truly boosted our activity.’ 

Lamah hopes to extend her initiative by providing technical and financial support to others. She would also like to connect with agro-pastoral leaders in other countries so that they can exchange experiences and learn from one another. 

In the small town of Koulé, Lamah is admired for her courage and leadership. ‘Today, we contribute to the employment of women and youth, and also to the development of the country by promoting local products, especially rice.’ 

In recognition of her contribution to the promotion of local rice in Guinea, Lamah was awarded a prize by Stop Hunger in partnership with the World Food Programme in Paris in 2017.