WHEN Clonise Valcourt set up ADETHO (Ami Développement Thomond) in 2004, the aim was two-fold: to set up a training centre to prepare local people to process crops grown virtually in their own backyards – and to reduce the amount of food wasted after every harvest.
What Valcourt realized was that those aims fitted perfectly together. So, in 2009, she opened a small production plant to clean, prepare and process everything from corn and peanuts to mangoes, coconuts, guava, grenadia and soursop – all crops traditionally grown in the area.
Working with a motorized mill provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, the corn became chanmchanm, the peanuts and pistachios became mamba and carapina, the cremas became guava jelly and jam, and the grenadia were transformed into a more-ish liqueur.
Today, ADETHO employs 22 women fulltime, increasing post-harvest when there’s more processing work to be done.
Valcourt has now established a simple routine. She buys the basic produce from local farmers, processes and bottles it at the ADETHO plant, and then sells it through a network long established by ANATRAF, the national association of fruit processors.
Profits from the organization are reinvested into other training programmes, such as sewing, cooking and craftwork, and Valcourt forecasts that of the next five years she’ll be in a position to create an additional 20 jobs.