Bôkô (Ivory Coast) (AFP)
“It’s a profitable activity!”, Rejoices Agathe Vanié, a farmer by profession: like her, thousands of women in rural Côte d’Ivoire have turned to organic food crops, to acquire rare financial autonomy in their lives. middle.
Sitting in her shop, Agathe Vanié, proudly presents the products that occupy the stalls of Divo’s first organic stall in west-central Côte d’Ivoire.
The boxes of eggplant, peanuts, pepper, peppers, turmeric, okra etc … stamped organic which attract many customers, come from the fields of 2,000 rural women of Divo grouped within Walo, an association to fight against poverty.
“The chemicals that we use to spray the soil, the plants, the fruits give us diseases. Since I know this shop, I consume good products”, rejoices Marie Michèle Gbadjéli, a farmer interviewed by AFP .
“We need to educate women so that they no longer treat the soil,” adds Agathe Vanié.
The president of Walo (“love” in the Dida language, the local ethnicity) hopes to enable women farmers to gain financial autonomy while cultivating healthy products.
“I brought the women together so that they embark on organic farming, first to guarantee their health, so that they are independent and can send their children to school and get out of poverty,” he explains. -it.
Formerly cocoa producers, the members of the association were convinced by her speech.
“We will be able to earn money by launching ourselves into a crop other than cocoa, by cultivating food crops without the addition of chemical fertilizers”.
– “Organic has changed our life” –
And in the village of Bôkô, near Divo, in the middle of the green hills, several women do not regret their adhesion to the project.
“We no longer pump chemicals into the fields. Converting to organic has changed our lives, we can earn a little money to take care of our children and educate them”, rejoices Florence Goubo, farmer, mother of five children, hoe in hand.
“We were deceived with chemicals,” plague Suzanne N’Dri, in the middle of her banana, yam and cassava plantation which has also been converted into organic pig and kid farming.
Madeleine Zébo, president of women organic producers in Bôkô praises the commercial success of crops from these environmentally and ethical plantations, without children working in the fields.
“We easily sell our peppers, eggplant, djoumgblé (okra, editor’s note), honey, peanuts, tarot, tomatoes … at enviable prices,” says Ms. Zébo.
“The women have my support and my blessing. Before, all agricultural production was based on chemicals and phytosanitary products, we were intoxicated,” says Bôkô village chief Gbaza Zourhouri.
Traceability and product quality: like Walo, this kind of initiative is making a breakthrough in rural Côte d’Ivoire where the poverty rate in the agricultural sector is around 60% according to official statistics.
Orange Bank Africa and UN Women signed a partnership agreement on July 1 in Abidjan “with a view to jointly addressing the challenges of access to finance and marketing, which women in rural areas face”.
Women in Côte d’Ivoire “still suffer today from strong inequalities and encounter many structural problems in their entrepreneurial and agricultural activities”, points out Orange Bank Africa, citing in particular “the difficulty of access to credit”.
The bank has thus promised easy access to 100% digital credit and savings solutions for these populations.
On the strength of the first commercial successes of its products which “cross borders”, the Walo association for its part announced a project to build its health center and a processing plant.
© 2021 AFP