A cooperative development project in Togo called "Dolcetto," was recently presented at a seminar in Rome entitled:"Seeding the Future of Africa: The Role of Cooperation." The project aims to demonstrate how growing organic pineapple can lead to growth and jobs for local residents in Togo. The project is coordinated by Coopermondo, the NGO set up by the Italian federation of cooperatives, Confcooperative, and the Italian federation of cooperative banks, Federcasse.
It works together with organic pineapple farmers in Togo who, with the project's support, have managed to organize themselves into local cooperatives to better market their product in a country where the average income is just 310 dollars, and where 32.3 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. In Togo, 35 percent of the country's GDP comes from farming, which employs 75 percent of the active population.
A project to fight poverty
The cooperative brings together a thousand young farmers, one-third of whom are women. Between them they cultivate 500 hectares of organic sugarloaf pineapple, called "Dolcetto", marketed in Italy under the brand Alce Nero thanks to Brio and the cooperative Agrintesa.
The president of Confcooperative, Maurizio Gardini met with Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini during the seminar, declaring that the project is "proof that you can fight poverty by offering work, and an income." His hope is that the income will give people back a feeling of "dignity," which he claims could become "contagious."
Gardini highlighted the cost differences between the amount it costs for a project like his to help people in their countries of origin and the amount it costs the Italian government to help people within its reception system in Europe. Gardini claimed that just 10 days in the Italian reception system would cost more than the Italian state needs to spend to help people in their homes in Africa. He added, "Healthy cooperation is [all about] proposing a model that gives answers to [the] critical issues of the moment." Gardini said that migration was linked to poverty and economic crisis and projects like his were trying to "tell a story of hope" and offering "help to Africa in its own home."