The money that Atacora pays the women in our Fair Partnership Co-op for their traditional work of making Baobab Fruit Powder, Baobab Oil and Neem Oil supplements their earnings from agriculture and beer brewing. The Atacora region is dominated by subsistance agriculture activities, and therefore there is a weak cash economy. Vital services such as health care and education require people to have money, and the prices and wages we pay the tree-growers and Co-op ladies opens access to these services, that they might not otherwise have.
Life After Baobab Production
Currently we have 32 women in our Fair Partnership Co-op that work tirelessly during Baobab and Neem seasons. We encourage the ladies to maintain their other activities so as not to create dependency. We also help with micro-loans to purchase brewing materials when prices are low.
In this agrarian society, field labor is most often performed with homemade hand tools. Getting this work done at the right time, and praying for rain are crucial for survival.
Marcelline, a seed has been planted
Mama Marcelline has been an Atacora Co-op member since 2009, and is a core member, providing guidance and leadership to get the job done. She is not married, but cares for her entire family which includes her mom, siblings, nieces and nephews. She is starting to get older and it is becoming harder for her to tend to her agriculture fields and take care of her family.
Marcelline is overjoyed with the amount of money she has earned from Atacora and reported that she is now able to ‘invite’ people to work her fields and provide them with food and tchoukoutou (sorghum beer), which is the local tradition. It is very much a team effort. Once a field is hand hoed and planted, everyone moves onto the next person’s field. Happy workers make better yields!
A Seed Grows
Marcelline grows sorghum to sell in the local markets as well as to brew beer. Her production will be much higher this year as she has had the funds to get alot of planting done. As a result, her family lives a better lifestyle and more easily afford clothes, health care, food, and raise more animals for food and for sale.
Without her earnings at Atacora, she would be less able able to thrive as she and her family are doing.