A Warming Story
When we buy our Baobab Fruit, we go directly to the small villages where the Baobab Trees grow. We then meet with the tree growers, weigh the Baobab fruit, and pay them cash for the whole baobab fruit.
This year when we went to the tiny village of Koukouentiegou to buy Baobab Fruit, we paid one tree grower the equivalent of about $300 cash for his Baobab Fruit. As he said, “The cash could not come at a more perfect time.” He has 6 kids and all of them needed school uniforms. He also had to pay school fees for all six kids and did not have the money to do so. Atacora paid him as much for his whole Baobab Fruit as he might get selling the baobab fruit powder and seeds, after alot of work, and toting it 10 kilometers on his and his wife’s heads to market and back a few times. Not only was he was able to pay for his kids’ schooling and uniforms (and have extra for health care, etc), he and his wife’s energies could be applied to other agricultural or income-generating activities. Before we paid him, he did not know if he could afford to send his kids to school. He was tickled that all of his six kids would go to school!
Atacora’s commitment to these small isolated villages, and to our baobab tree growers is aimed at helping break the cycle of poverty that has endured despite many international “aid” projects that effectively create dependency. Sustainable, Fair Trade commerce is a much better approach that can yield enduring results. Money in people’s pockets opens avenues to the health care and education that can break poverty’s deadlock.
Tangible results like the one with our partner-farmer in Koukouentiegou make us feel we are on the right path. The added benefit is the satisfaction we feel when we hear things like this!