My name is Kané Aminata, 30 years old, unmarried and I live in Koulikoro. I’m an agri-entrepreneur, producing attiéké and was struggling to grow my business. With the support from the EJOM project, I have been able to succeed.
I feel more important in my environment, am able to contribute to my family's income and cover all my grandmother's expenses. Being able to contribute to job creation in my hometown makes me proud. As a result, and despite my young age, I am respected by my entourage.
Attiéké is a popular food that is made from cassava paste. It originates from Côte d’Ivoire and is also very popular here in the Koulikoro region. I learnt to make attiéké when I visited Abidjan in 2015. Since then, I had been trying to grow my business but had not succeeded due to a lack of resources. The local Youth Association President knew that I was looking for support and informed me about the EJOM project. I applied to join the project and was selected to participate. During the first training period, I learnt about running a business properly. With support from the project, I registered as an official business, opened a bank account, bought a wringer to produce attiéké and a kiosk to sell it in. I also bought business cards!
I buy bags of cassava paste from Bamako at a price of 25,000 CFA francs (€38) per bag , including transportation costs. One bag contains 80 kg of manioc paste. Every day, except on Fridays which is a rest day, me and my six employees prepare about 30 kilograms of attiékè. I have three sales points and also sell on the streets. I also started selling the starch that is released during the washing of the manioc paste to supplement my income.
Aminata is washing the cassava paste
The Attiékè of Aminata is ready for sale
The EJOM project really helped me think strategically about my business. To stand out from other sellers, I package my product per personal portion, and I include garnish, fish, oil, vegetable and chili peppers to attract more customers. My strategy is working well. My consumers tell me it is practical and hygienic. It also shows in my production and sales numbers: when I started producing, I would order 5 bags, but now I need to double the order!
After expenses, I now earn around 100,000 FCFA (€150) per month. Beyond the financial satisfaction, I feel a moral satisfaction. Being an active member of an association that helps widows and orphans here in Koulikoro, I am able to give job opportunities to several women with my business. This helps them in turn to improve their lives.
About the EJOM project
The EJOM project is made possible by the European Union with co-funding by the Netherlands embassy in Mali, the consortium (ICCO, WASTE, APEJ and SNV) stimulates economic development and stability by creating (self)- employment opportunities in the horticulture, waste management, agri-business and handi-craft sectors in the Koulikoro, Kayes, Gao regions and Bamako. The consortium partners select young people and provide training on life and business skills as well as good horticultural practices. We also develop horticulture value chains and agribusiness SMEs, to grow local employment and business opportunities. Until mid-2021, the project will train 8,620 young people, including 2,586 women and 1,293 returnees and create 6,472 jobs.