In Ahondo (12km from Taabo in Côte d’Ivoire), Nestlé is encouraging women to be independent – by diversifying their activities through the cultivation of tomatoes.
The training teaches the women how to grow tomatoes without soil. This reduces water use and uses less space in cocoa-growing areas, which helps to preserve the environment.
120 women from four ‘Cellules Féminines de Renforcement Economique (CFRECs)’ and the community of Bécédi-Brignan have been brought together to learn how to set up a nursery, assisted by two technicians, and the construction of a 150m2 greenhouse. Watering the tomatoes is performed using nearly 600 7-liter buckets, which are perforated and fed from an on-site tower that draws water from the nearby Bandama River.
By opting for soilless cultivation, the women not only protect the environment, but will reach the harvesting stage faster than with traditional cultivation, so profits on the tomatoes can be delivered sooner.
It’s expected that half a ton of tomatoes will be grown and sold. Acting on their own initiative, the women are also growing lettuce and okra to maximize the use of greenhouse space. The ladies have also done their research and have customers ready and waiting to buy the produce.
The harvests will deliver substantial income for the women which will be reinvested to expand the site, be used for family expenses, or contribute to the education of their children.
N’guessan Akissi Léa, a member of the CFREC, shared her impression of the project and the impact it will have on her daily life and household: “I got involved in this activity so that I could help my husband and take care of the children. I now know how to plant tomatoes, and I know it will pay off tomorrow and help my children to succeed”.