‘From woman to woman’

Soukaina Salmi is the area manager in Chaouia region for Hlib Bladi project.

Soukaina Salmi (Photo: Yana Wernicke)

What are your duties as Director General?
I manage seven technicians who take care of the cows and milk collection points. Together we identify local problems and search for solutions. As an agricultural economist, I also develop ideas on how milk farmers can boost total productivity. For example, I have fostered approaches for using sorghum grain as an alternative to corn in arid regions since it requires less water.

Why is it important in this kind of work that you are a woman?
We work in a rural area where a majority of the women are more conservative. Men from outside areas cannot really gain contact with these women. But women perform a large part of the agricultural work. In order for our message to reach those who actually do the tasks, it is important to speak from woman to woman.

Where do you see the greatest challenges?
It’s important to convince farmers to change the way they work. For example, earlier they may have only delivered their milk once a day to the cooperative, but now they deliver it right after milking the cows in the morning and evening, which is important in terms of freshness. But we have to understand the farmers’ perspective – for anyone it is difficult to change ingrained habits quickly.  Therefore, our most important task is to convince them that these changes are to their benefit.

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