Mayssah Ghazel

Bio DesertJoy

I am Mayssah Ghazel, from Bio DesertJoy. Here I work as an agro-economist engineer, where I am a specialist in the development and management of projects. Here in Tunisia we are growing organic mangetout peas a project that was started in 2015. I am so excited to work with this wonderful organic product and to deliver you a great quality with a super taste. My passion for organic farming started from childhood. I am from the south of Tunisia and I used to live with my grandparents where I learned how to grow organic and eat healthy. I will always be grateful for them. May God bless them! 

Our company is a daughter of Desert Joy, a greenhouse project that was started here in 2012 by Dutch entrepreneurs including Philip van Antwerpen. They saw the availability of space and sunlight and warmth as a great chance to grow tomatoes sustainably. Unique is that we use thermal springs for heating and irrigation of the greenhouse! We are therefore very energy efficient. In 2015 we starting growing organically. So now we grow climate friendly, socially sustainable and ecologically sound too.

For every tomato sold, a premium is collected and put in the fund. A committee of chosen employees decides how the money is spent. For example, we are now planning to organize day care for children so women have better chances to work when they have children. The employees enjoy a free hot meal during work hours. And we have a doctor and a dentist where all employees and their families can go for check-ups. We hope you will enjoy our tomatoes even more now that you know the story behind them!

 

Interview with Mayssah Ghazel

Mayssah, can you tell us something about the region you are located?
"Chenchou is situated in the south of Tunisia in the Sahara region. This  region gives a lot of natural resources like year round sunlight and the geothermal water exploited by us to irrigate the plants. This region needs development and has a lot of unemployed young people, so Desert Joy is creating jobs to help people to improve their lives."

Mayssah, how did you become the organic specialist of Desert Joy?
"Desert Joy decided in 2015 to start an organic project with peas and tomatoes. Eat healthy, eat organic! This project was really a big challenge for me as an engineer with a Master in Crop Sciences Production and a minor in Biotechnology and Seeds Industry as background. It's a different approach but I like my work deeply because I’m returning to nature, I’m protecting the environment and I'm proud of my products."

How do you overcome the difficulties of growing organic?
"We are producing crops that are naturally resistant against diseases. For example the variety of the tomato Sweetelle is resistant to several fungi diseases. And it’s the same for peas. We are also planting and using garlic. This is a naturally resistant plant and is having the properties to avoid insects, which can be harmful for the crop. We also enrich our soil with micro-organisms (like Trichiderma Harzianum and earthworms) that makes the soil full of vivacity. In this way we boost the natural resilience of the soil and the crops."

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