Tunisian women mix hot sauce with business

13 Dec 2017

A group of women farmers in Menzel Mhiri, in rural central Tunisia banded together and formed a co-operative through which they market their harissa under the trade name “Errim”.

The co-operative society - “Tahadi” has grown to include 150 women as members who make money by producing and even exporting their ancestral expertise. Forming the co-operative helped the women to be recognised as a local producer. They received training on technical, hygienic and commercial aspects of their venture. For two years now, they have been marketing harissa under the ‘Errim’ trade name, which means small gazelle, a symbol of feminine beauty in Arabic.

Tahadi has now 164 people working for it and is one of the first organisations in the country to work exclusively with local rural women under a rotational system. They have a laboratory where they grind, knead and fill the red paste.

The co-operative has provided rural employment and some women work from home by drying the peppers on roofs of their houses. One of its members, Ms Dhifla explained how the work has allowed women a certain degree of autonomy, boosting their confidence and enabling them to move forward.

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