Women Farmers Increase Onion Production & Family Income in Burkina Faso
Small-scale market gardening, especially onion production, has become an important income-generating activity for women in Zorkoum, a village central Burkina Faso. The women’s hard work has been hampered by a lack of knowledge of key onion-growing techniques, which lowers product quality and sales. They have, encouragingly, joined together as the Manegtaaba women’s producer group, which is composed of 25 members.
Group President Pascaline Marmoussa Sawadogo recalls the members’ constraints. “We learned about onion production by helping our husbands, but the men only taught us certain aspects.” The women also had to pay the owner of a motor pump to bring water to their plots, and they had no space to store their onions. Lack of storage forced the women to either keep onions in their bedrooms or sell them immediately upon harvesting at lower market prices.
The Victory Against Malnutrition Project’s intervention in Zorkoum boosted the group’s capacity by training the women on vegetable production, financial literacy, and storage management. Also, the project provided the village with a new onion storage facility and two irrigated market gardening perimeters, equipped with a motor pump, where the women and men now produce the onions.
The quantity and quality of the Manegtaaba group’s onions have increased; the group’s average seasonal output has grown by 25 percent. Thanks to the storage facility, the members can now wait up to five months to sell their onions until prices are high or a family need arises.
With the additional money from their improved onion production, Pascaline and other group members help their families with household expenses, buying cereals and clothing or paying children’s school fees. Pascaline also used part of her new income to start a side business raising and selling goats, pigs, rabbits, and chickens. Pascaline and the other Manegtaaba group members thank the American people for the positive change in their living conditions.