This article was originally written by VEGA Member IESC about the Finance for Food Security and Women Entrepreneurs program.
In 2004, Ms. Dembélé Haoua Traoré and her family founded the Damu Adou food processing company. The company specializes in the processing of raw products, such as millet, fonio, and corn, and tree products such as baobab, tamarind, and palm. With these raw materials, Damu Adou produces corn chips, millet pasta, juices and croquets to sell in regional markets.
As a member of the Association pour la Promotion de la Femme et l’enfant au Mali (APROFEM), Traoré relocated her family business in 2016 to Bamako to be closer to the organization’s headquarters. By relocating, Traoré is able to receive better support from Programme Compétitivité et Diversification Agricoles (PCDA) in working materials (dryers, huskers, and hammer mills).
Damu Adou continued to grow while Traoré was training with PCDA, and the company was soon faced with a shortage of funds to satisfy their growing customer base. Soon after, with the support of FFSWE and APROFEM, Traoré revised Damu Adou’s business plan and submitted a loan request to the Bank of Africa (BOA) for $1,244. This first loan allowed her company not only to buy more raw materials but also to participate in the Dakar International Fair (FIDAK) in December 2017, where she was subsequently awarded a loan of $2,675. In May 2018, Traoré also benefited from a second loan of $1,778. With this second loan the company purchased over 1,000 pounds of fonio, maize, millet, and monkey pine, and labeled their products. Thanks to the loans, Damu Adou’s sales have increased by 200% each month and the number of permanent employees has increased from 2 to 7 people, 5 of whom are women. The processing capacity has also increased twofold in comparison to their production pre-FFSWE assistance. Ms. Traoré thanks the FFSWE Program for the loan, stating, “thanks to the assistance of the FFSWE program, my business management skills have been improved and the loans received have increased my company’s working capital to meet the growing demand.” Damu Adou’s products are currently sold in Bamako, in the interior of the country, in Guinea, and Senegal. Ultimately, Ms. Dembélé aims to expand the company further to export to other continents (Europe, America, Asia).
This success story is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as by the Swedish People through the Government of Sweden. The contents are the sole responsibility of IESC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or the Swedish Government.