A cooperative of women in Mali have turned an idea to produce dried mangoes and onions into a successful business that runs all year round.
Balimaya Fruit is a small business run by a group of female entrepreneurs who produce and package food by hand on a small scale. Diahara Kamissoko is the president of the Balimaya Women’s Association and tells how they now produce mango in season for 4 months, a local grain phonio in season for 4 months and then coconut, ginger, peanut sauce, juice, marmalade and other products for the rest of the year.
The women were able to buy equipment for their business with the help of the Swiss organisation Helvetas. This development programme and support available to agribusiness entrepreneurs in Africa is what it took for these women to establish this African enterprise.
We visit the plant where they produce all the products and look at their preparation and packaging of the final product. Hygiene processes and procedures are taken in order to prevent contamination.
Functioning on a small scale, they are still a successful business and the plant employs a lot of extra women during the mango and phonio seasons. The village benefits from this cooperative, since they have created revenue and a local market within the community.
Their plans for the future are to deliver to bigger clients and expand their pholio plant by acquiring more equipment.