Although I have seen it in the picture, visiting the facilities of the new processing company was a good experience. In Casamance, Kent and Keitt mangoes will be harvested and processed from April to September. During the rest of the year, other vegetables produced by the women’s association, such as tomatoes, green beans, and cashew notes will be processed in the factory
El-Hadji Diaketé, president of Copex-Sud, said “When children ask me if this building will be a new house, I answer “No, this house is your future”.
Together as one
The afternoon meeting at Copex-Sud was attended by many representatives of the different commissions because they wanted to be sure they could answer any questions.
“People are motivated. On our own, we cannot do anything with our production. We need each other. Working as a cooperative gives us visibility and strength. We are poor, but we have our soil and are hardworking people”, said Lamine Diassy, first vice-president of Copex-Sud. “We trust Oikocredit because Oikocredit took the risk and trusted us. We hope that the factory will help us get out o poverty.”
After the meeting, we arrived in Kent Motel in Diouloulou.
13 February: Empowering women
Women’s empowerment can take several forms and can be reached through different ways. The Women’s Association co-exists with Copex-Sud and was created o help women develop economic activities through horticulture gardens in different villages.
In the garden, women were cultivating the land. Others are fetching water from wells. Among other things, they cultivate tomatoes, hard beans, carrots and lettuce.
Casamance mangoes for export
It took us almost an hour to go from Kataba 1 village to Diana Kabar village to visit a mango orchard. It was not any orchard, but one where mangoes for export – Kent and Keitt – are cultivated. Bubacar Baji showed us the trees that in some months will produce the first mangoes to be processed in the new factory of Les Saveurs du Sud.
Back in the hotel, we had a short debriefing session with Copex-Sud. This was the last activity in Casamance. It was time to go back to Dakar.
Before arriving to the airport, there was a short break to try some coconut sold by a street vendor of Ziguinchor.
This summer, I cannot wait to see the mangoes of Les Saveurs du Sud in a supermarket in the Netherlands. Dried or fresh, which will you choose?