March 01, 2024

Yara Italia and Casa Sankara: Cultivating opportunity beyond “the oasis”

Italy's agricultural sector faces a critical issue with 230,000 irregularly employed workers, the majority of which are migrants, with concentrations exceeding 40% in regions like Campania, Calabria, Puglia, and Sicily. Casa Sankara-Ghetto Out is tackling this problem, and since 2021, Yara Italia has been a committed ally. Together, they are setting a precedent for social responsibility in the sector

Casa Sankara

Casa Sankara's core mission is to combat exploitation by offering housing and dignified employment to hundreds of migrants in the province of Foggia, located in the Puglia region of Southern Italy. The association guides migrants towards a dignified path of economic and social integration, providing essential services such as housing, job opportunities, driving lessons, Italian language courses, and more.  

Beyond meeting immediate needs, the project actively promotes community integration through cultural activities like music workshops, batik classes, and cooking lessons, bridging the gap between migrants and the residents of Foggia.

"Casa Sankara functions like an oasis in a desert, but our vision is to bridge the gap between this oasis and the city itself," explains Mbaye Ndiaye, President of Casa Sankara. "We need to try to share information, to make ourselves known. Not to say: We are here. Rather to say: We can live together," adds Herve Faye, President of Casa Sankara.

“We are not just an oasis; we are also the city, the state, the citizens.”

 Mbaye Ndiaye, President of Casa Sankara

Murales at Casa Sankara

Yara’s contribution

Situated in the San Severo countryside, Casa Sankara specializes in producing peeled tomatoes.

In a significant partnership, Yara Italia, in 2021, committed to providing fertilizers, agronomic consultancy and nutrition plans through Rocco Cavoto, an agronomist working for Yara Italia, for two hectares of industrial tomatoes cultivated by Casa Sankara.

"We tested the product on one hectare, and it was a success. But I also realized it wasn't just about the product; it was also about the person and their knowledge. That's when I reached out to Rocco and said: I want to work with you," recalls Ndiaye.

Cavoto elaborates: "In May 2021, I brought products to Casa Sankara, along with a crop nutrition plan, and explained to the migrants working on the field how to apply the products. Providing continuous support, I would pass by or call every two weeks or so.”

Rocco from Yara Italia sharing crop nutrition plan

"When Mbaye contacted me after the tomato harvest, he told me that while the yield remained consistent, there was a noticeable improvement in the size and quality of the tomatoes. They were larger, with more pulp and juice - an important enhancement for industrial tomatoes and their processing, that promises a notably higher quality output," shares Cavoto.

Casa Sankara’s peeled tomatoes are branded "Riaccolto-La Terra della Libertà" ("The Land of Freedom") and distributed through a prominent Italian supermarket chain.

Tomato can with tomatoes produces from Casa Sankara

A sustainable and inclusive future for agriculture

Yara Italia's dedication reflects Yara’s core principle of "Knowledge Grows," acknowledging agronomists and their expertise as essential catalysts for positive change. This partnership underscores Yara's commitment to leveraging knowledge, actively pursuing collaborations and opportunities to generate lasting positive effects in agriculture and beyond.

At the nexus of Casa Sankara's grassroots efforts and Yara Italia's dedicated backing, there's a vision for a more equitable and humane agricultural landscape in Italy. In their commitment to social responsibility, they're not just empowering migrant communities but they're also laying the groundwork for a future that's more sustainable and inclusive, where every individual is treated with dignity and provided with equal opportunities for growth.