In Benin, farmers practice rain fed agriculture – meaning there are periods of abundance and scarcity. To help curb the uncertainty of production of tomatoes and to help improve the lives of young women in Benin, Segbe Accrombessi created Kawan Africa.
With a degree in Industrial Engineering and a focus on food processing/food production, Segbe believes that it was inevitable that she would be thrust into the world of food and agriculture.
Kawan Africa is an enterprise which produces and sells tomato puree. They set up workshops to train young girls to produce the puree and then become wholesalers who buy their products to sell them afterwards. The technology used for processing avoids the total destruction of the nutrients of the tomato, caused by a heat treatment applied over a long period. The technology used involves short exposure of tomato puree to a heat source. Currently the business trains 60 women per year and since its inception they have produced 2000 jars.
A highlight for Kawan Africa are two women who launched a tomato puree business, IFE and have products selling in local supermarkets.
By 2024, Segbe’s vision is to reduce the losses recorded in the tomato sector by 80% and to diversify the training programme to reach a larger number of women.