Chairman of the Scoop-Yeye Cooperative
Coulibaly Largaton has made it – at 39, he is a “made man” in the village of Yedandiekaha: Thanks to SECO, he harvests more than 2,000 kg of cotton per hectare. For comparison, SECO wants to train the other farmers to increase the average crop yield from the current 1,160 kg/ha to 1,500 kg/ha. Largaton is already exceeding this quota. He has two wives, five children, a large house with a satellite dish, and a large flat-screen television – absolute luxury in the remote village southwest of Ferké.
How has your life changed since Olam/SECO came to your village?
I used to have only one bike, but thanks to SECO and higher profits, now I have a motorcycle and another motorbike for my son. I got married, which is expensive. My children go to school, and I built a big house.
How was cotton farming 10 years ago?
There were small cotton farms, but during and after the civil war, most people in the community were not paid for the harvests. Now, with SECO we have fast payments and get our money within two weeks.
The cotton is sown and picked by hand. Is it conceivable that in the future you will work with machines? Is this your wish?
My parents used to do everything by hand – plowing, setting, and harvesting. Today, I work with oxen when plowing, and only the ripe cotton is harvested by hand. My wish is that my sons will later use tractors.
How is the bonus that the cooperative receives used to help the whole village?
We saved the money in the first three years from 2009 to 2012 and then built the school from 2012 to 2014. We have two pumping stations: one built at the end of the 1990s, the other in 2007. Today, thanks to cotton, we all have more money to live on, for gas, clothes, food, and celebrations.
Are the women in your village involved in the cotton harvest?
In our village, the women are only involved in the cotton production – the harvesting of the cotton itself is men’s business. The women have to take care of the food crop and the other food plants.