Algerian women pioneer eco-friendly farming

Algerian women pioneer eco-friendly farming

Ibtissem Mahtout and Amira Messous pick fresh strawberries and tomatoes on the eco-friendly smallholding the two women are working near Algiers, a pioneering initiative in Algeria's male-dominated agricultural sector.
   After graduating from university four years ago, they left the capital and
started working on the small patch of land in Douaouda, some 30 kilometres (18
miles) to the west.
   "As soon as I'm in the field I'm happy," said Messous, 28, holding a bundle
of fresh beetroot.
   "From morning to night, we're here. To me, it's the most beautiful job in
the world."
   The plant ecology and biodiversity graduates now run one of the country's
rare ecological plots of land, where the produce is grown in harmony with the
broader ecosystem and without using pesticides.
   Messous said it was challenging at first to "have to integrate" into a
sector in which most people who work the land are men.
   According to local media, as of last October just four per cent of workers
registered with the Chamber of Agriculture in Tipaza province where their land
is were women.

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