Laguem Taaba La Tongo, in mooré language, means “unity is strength” and the women in this cooperative surely have a lot of strength. Between the 20 companies sustained by the project “Innovative social enterprises and migrants participation for social inclusion in Burkina Faso”, co-financed by Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Maria Enrica Foundation, Laguem Taaba La Tongo is, as a matter of fact, the one that suffered the most. After the construction of the headquarters and of the transformation center, thanks to a financing obtained during the project, a terrible storm destroyed the roof. But the women of the cooperative did not give up and rolled up their sleeves to repair it.
President Zalissa Kabore says that the cooperative was born from a group of tomato and onion cultivators, who recognized that these products were fundamental in burkinabé cuisine and that their market price varied too much. As a matter of fact, they are seasonal and perishable products, so that there are some periods in which a crate of tomatoes is very cheap and some others in which the price becomes almost inaccessible. For this reason, Zalissa and the others thought about a way to manage the drying of vegetables, in order to make them available for the community across all the year, even “out of season”.
So Laguem Taaba La Tongo was born and, as Zalissa says, it now grows thanks to the many training opportunities offered by the project, in particular the recent training about product quality, but also by the meetings with successful entrepreneurs, who are to be taken as examples, and with microfinance institutions, which often inspire fear. In particular Zalissa tells us that the most useful lesson she attended to is the one about how to present well and sell the products in the midst of many competitors, a thing that she learnt thanks to the agri-food days organized by the Fiab partner in 2019.
And since we are at the beginning of the year, Zalissa greets us by wishing us and to herself that 2021 is a year of social peace, prosperity and good health, and that Laguem Taaba La Tongo can grow even more and be successful, maybe by transforming new products!
Here are some photos of women in the fields and in the damaged headquarters: