In Divo, a rural Ivory Coast town, thousands of women have resorted to organic gardening and formed cooperatives in order to achieve financial independence. Using machetes and dabas (a traditional African hoe), they cultivate their food in the fields, which they believe helps to maintain their health and customs.
The farmers say they no longer use chemical fertilizers on their crops and can work with their hands. “We don’t pump chemicals on crops anymore. We don’t consume veggies that have been grown in fields that have been treated with chemical pesticides,” a female farmer expressed herself.
The women’s agricultural cooperative in Ivory Coast is leading the charge in increasing awareness about the dangers of using pesticides on the land. Agathe Vanié, President of the women’s agro-agricultural cooperative, praises the commercial success of crops from these ecological and ethical plantations. “We need to raise awareness amongst women so that they don’t treat the land with chemicals,” she says.
According to AFP, official data indicate that the agricultural industry in rural Côte d’Ivoire has a poverty rate of approximately 60%, and that product quality is making significant strides forward.