VERDURA: The Ecological Start-Up born thanks to the CLIMA project

Giulia Giovagnoli for COSPE

Forage and flowers cultivated using wastewater from a dairy company, Vitalait of Mahdia – it's a brilliant idea that combines innovation and ecology. Meet Verdura, the start-up founded by Soumaya Alaya, an agricultural engineer, with the support of the CLIMA project.

"My project," Soumaya explains, "involves producing and selling green alfalfa to farmers and breeders, as well as selling flowers. The idea came to me after installing an irrigation system in the Dkhila region, where my parents own agricultural land. Thanks to the CLIMA project, I was able to put it into practice. In 2021, my husband and I started the venture, and if needed, we hire seasonal workers."

Giulia Giovagnoli for COSPE


















Mahdia is a significant dairy basin, thanks to its small-scale breeders. However, in recent years, these small-scale breeders have faced serious challenges due to drought and the rising cost of animal feed. "In this context," Soumaya narrates, "I thought that alfalfa could be a good solution given its nutritional value. Having the opportunity to cultivate it using wastewater, I decided to produce and sell it to breeders. Alongside alfalfa, I also pursued my passion for flowers. I had previously worked in a nursery producing and selling ornamental plants, and I wanted to continue my journey in floriculture and the world of ornamentation."

Verdura represents a virtuous example of reusing and valorizing a precious and increasingly scarce resource like water. In Mahdia's context, it could be a replicable solution to address water scarcity issues. However, Soumaya and her husband face challenges of a different nature: "Our problems," she shares, "are mainly financial and related to the limited distribution of our products due to the lack of a vehicle. Additionally, the agricultural area we use is still too small to generate significant revenue."

Giulia Giovagnoli for COSPE

However, some progress has been made, thanks to the CLIMA project: "Thanks to the project," she continues, "my start-up has become a legal entity. Moreover, the program provided us with technical support in entrepreneurship and ecology, along with financial assistance through an initial grant of 12,321 dinars (3,690 euros) for purchasing materials necessary for flower cultivation and forage activities."

Looking ahead, what are their hopes and prospects? "We hope to further develop our activities and diversify our products. At the same time," Soumaya concludes, "we dream of witnessing greater commitment from industries that pollute or use natural resources like water, engaging them in an integrated and reparative approach, assisting entrepreneurs in creating environmentally-friendly businesses to address local challenges."