Feed the Future Supports Women Entrepreneurs to Expand their Skills and Participate in International Fairs
To support women farmers and entrepreneurs working across the Sikasso Subzone, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa activity builds the competitiveness and resilience of female market actors by enhancing their capacity and increasing their access to key business linkages.
In June 2022, Sugu Yiriwa supported three women entrepreneurs from Sikasso, Bougouni, and Koutialato—Ami Bagayoyo, Diarrah Traore Kamissoko and Rokia Togola—to participate in the 22nd edition of the Foire Internationale de l’Agriculture et des Ressources Animales (FIARA) exhibition held in Dakar, Senegal in the leadup to Tabaski.
The three participants were first prize winners of a culinary competition organized by Sugu Yiriwa in May 2022, which highlighted nutritious local recipes and processed foods from the activity’s focal value chains of cereals, cowpeas, horticultural products, poultry and small ruminants. The women were also first-time FIARA attendees and shared the costs of the trip with Sugu Yiriwa.
Prior to the fair, Sugu Yiriwa trained Bagayoyo, Kamissoko and Rokia Togola to improve their marketing and price negotiation skills, which helped them outshine their competitors. They also received support from previous FIARA participants, enabling them to make informed decisions about what to present during the fair.
Bagayoyo of the Cooperative DIOBA de Koutiala recalled, “Even though this was the first time I participated in FIARA, thanks to the information I received, I was able to bring honey and Tô mougou (a product made from corn), which sold for high prices in the Senegalese market. If I have the opportunity to participate in the next fair, I will be ready to bring more products and therefore generate more income.”
Together the women sold their full inventories, which included processed cereals, chia butter and honey worth $3,400 (2,164,500 FCFA). Their participation in FIARA also opened up new business horizons as they succeeded in establishing connections with wholesalers in Dakar, Mborur and Thies.
Recognizing the economic feasibility of participating in the fair, the participants expressed their willingness to contribute to the costs of the trip and to increase the quantity of products they would supply at future exhibitions.
Kamissoko from the Groupement Balimaya de Bougouni said, “During the fair, I made higher profits negotiating with wholesalers as well as selling honey and millet transformed into dèguè mougou—a product that was in great demand in Dakar. If I have another opportunity to participate in FIARA, I look forward to showcasing more products and contributing to the cost of the fair.”