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Ivorian Women Go Organic to Preserve Yield

Thousands of women from Divo, in rural Côte d’Ivoire, have turned to organic farming and grouped together to gain financial independence. Now they go to the fields with machetes and dabas (a traditional African hoe) to farm their produce, which they say helps preserve their health and traditions. “We’ve thrown out the chemicals. We don’t pump chemicals on crops anymore. We don’t eat vegetables from crops that have touched chemicals. Now we work with our hands” said a female farmer. Agathe Vanié, President of the women’s agricultural cooperative, praised the commercial success of crops from these ecological and ethical plantations. “Before, we did not treat the soil (with chemicals). But at some point this practice was introduced in agriculture and we lost the local rice from the past. We thought about it. I called my friends, I said no. We need to raise awareness in the field, and at the same time we need to talk about cocoa, we need to talk about our food, because that’s what keeps us going, so we need to raise awareness amongst women so that they don’t treat the soil with chemicals.” The product quality is making a breakthrough in rural Côte d’Ivoire where the poverty rate in the agricultural sector is around 60% according to official statistics.