In the food processing business, women are generally the ones to ensure their families are fed at the household level, then sell the surplus production to meet their financial needs.
In Senegal, the women members of the Sainte Marthe Economic Group are the primary breadwinners for their families. Sainte Marthe buys the Obatanpa maize from Vélingara producers in the Kolda region of Senegal to process it and encourage consumption through sales. Created in 2018, the Sainte Marthe group produces high-quality flour. Their high quality nutritional products are used by projects, programs, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations that fight malnutrition in the region.
The women of GIE Sainte Marthe are participants in the Feed the Future Senegal Kawolor activity implemented by NCBA CLUSA and funded by USAID|Senegal as part of its contribution to the Senegalese Government’s strategy in the fight malnutrition, food insecurity and poverty. This project aims to curb malnutrition by empowering organizations and regional resources partners to scale up the Nutrition Led Agriculture (NLA) approach and utilize market opportunities for sustainability.
The flour recipe used by GIE Sainte Marthe combines several portions of cereal and local products such as corn flour, millet flour, cowpea, palm oil, moringa, and peanut paste. The commercial success of this flour recipe has earned the GIE Sainte Marthe a position of undisputed leader in the field of manufacturing and marketing of enriched flour in the Kolda region.
In March 2019, the GIE Sainte Marthe joined the CultiVert Social Franchise. Cultivert supports individual agents and groups to provide quality services relating to nutrition and food security. The group became an Entity CultiVert service provider (EPC) supported by Cultivert in developing their business. The affiliation of the GIE to Cultivert allowed them to:
- Have access to a marketing platform for their products. They are now in contact with quality input suppliers, such as the cooperative of corn producers of Diankancounda and Service Provider Agents. The EIG can thus reduce its costs of transport, produce highly nutritious flour and claim better profitability.
- Benefit from being put in touch with renowned organizations such as World Vision, the Malnutrition Control Unit (CLM), the Tiers Sud Bey Daare project. These institutional organizations trust the GIE by purchasing large quantities of enriched flour as part of their nutrition activities.
- Regularly participate in commercial events, which allows them to strengthen their sales.
- Benefit from a marketing strategy (quality packaging and use of CultiVert label to boost sales).
- Obtain an FRA code that allows them sell to supermarkets.
- Diversify their product offerings and services with the integration of syrups using local fruits available.
- Better structure themselves by setting up five commissions (1. supply, 2. transformation, 3. hygiene and environment, 4. milling, 5. delivery). The GIE is now equipped with accounting management tools.
The GIE maintained its activities despite the slowdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the group delivered 37 tonnes of enriched flour to populations vulnerable to malnutrition in the Kolda region. Among other goals, the GIE is ambitiously building a production site and have sweet potato processing equipment to produce crisps and other products derived from this produce.