Wallada composta promotes sustainability in Northern Tunisia
“The circular economy allows us to limit our impact on the environment. Unlike the linear economy, it reduces the waste of resources and the production of waste. The circular economy makes it possible to recover a product at the end of its life to start a new economic cycle. In this way, waste becomes a primary resource again.”
This is the introduction of Ferdaous Yousfi, founder of the SMSA Wallada Composta, for a training course in agribusiness and waste recovery for young graduates who are members of her association “Voix des jeunes de Béja”.
Passionate about entrepreneurship, ecology and the social and solidarity economy, Ferdaous has several strings to her bow. She is an agricultural engineer, an APIA coach, a project manager and the secretary general of this association, where she has been campaigning for 6 years for environmental sustainability in her region.
“Once I graduated as a State Engineer in animal production in 2018, I didn’t last long behind a desk as a commercial agent or as a research officer in a consulting firm, the salary and the apprenticeship was below my expectations. I quickly threw myself into social action for the preservation of the environment, rubbing shoulders with the social partners in the region, communes and municipalities and NGOs, and getting more involved and learning more from them, from one project to the next.”
“The history of Wallada Composta is very recent, it began with the call for applications to the project “Ghodwa Jeunesse & Environnement” financed by the French Institute of Tunisia in June 2021, with the presentation of the project Vaga Bio Expert. Its realisation was just as quick thanks to our meeting and the unlimited support of the Mashrou3i project a month later.”
“In low-income countries,” Ferdaous continues, “more than 90% of waste is poorly managed. About 1/3 of waste is burnt or dumped in landfills. This situation aggravates greenhouse gas emissions and disaster risks, with proportionately higher effects among poor populations.”
In the Beja region, 512 million tons of animal waste are burned or disposed of in public landfills or waterways by the municipalities every year. Wallada Composta was created to solve this problem. The creation of the SMSA, in addition to collecting and converting animal waste into natural fertilisers, was intended to ensure the sustainability of the project, to employ skills and above all to serve the region by creating jobs and solving an environmental problem.
“Without Mashrou3i’s intervention, we were definitely going down the wrong path. Last July, we had no idea what an SMSA was in legal, organisational or even functional terms. We developed a vision thanks to Mashrou3i’s training and support, built a coherent social business model around this vision and worked on a financial management adapted to our needs and conditions. We launched our SMSA in January 2022, with the support of Mashrou3i, and carried by a team entirely made up of competences: three engineers, one SVT graduate, two farmers all associated in the project and active members of the association. Mashrou3i’s experts also helped us to enhance the presentation of the project and the products through the design of the “Wallada Composta” logo, labels and packaging.
To ensure its supply of animal waste, the Vaga Bio Expert team has already entered into partnerships with the municipality of Maagoula and the cooperatives of Beja, which are able to supply them with healthy manure free of all harmful products, which will be processed on site in return for 2/3 of the production. As for the third partner, the Beja sugar factory, it will provide “the sugar vegetables”, the residues and waste from its activity that will be transported to be processed on the SMSA site.
“We are a pilot project in the north-west and within a month we will be able to satisfy the demands of the region’s farmers for natural and 100% organic fertilisers for market gardening, arboriculture, horticulture and nurseries. We are already working on raising the awareness of municipalities and farmers and we are seeing a real attraction for natural fertilizers everywhere in Tunisia. Our project for the future is to create our own nursery and to continue our fight for the protection of the environment and the preservation of the region for future generations…”