Sonya Ibidhi, who worked as a journalist in Tunisia for 22 years, has found the peace she was looking for in growing edible flowers.
Ibidhi grows rare flowers used in medicine and cooking, has been awarded her country's "best businesswoman" prize for 2021.
The entrepreneur, who lives in the province of Cenduba in the north-east of the country, says that journalism is a very stressful profession and that she has no regrets about her decision. "I loved my job as a journalist for 22 years," she says. But I've always wanted to work with the land, ever since I was a child. I realised that certain rare flowers used in cooking and medicine were not available in Tunisia and were imported. I developed in this field and realised my dream of farming in this way.
She received agricultural training in a vocational training course before starting floriculture, Abidi said he started floriculture with 5 flowers and increased the number of varieties to 21 over time.
"Producing edible flowers is a project I've been dreaming about for a long time and which I realised after looking at all the aspects. I started my project in Tabarka, because it's a region with high humidity and easy water requirements. Tabarka, with its mild climate, is a very suitable place for growing flowers. At first, I started with 5 types of flowers, then I increased this number to 7, then to 15, and now I grow 21 types of flowers", said Ibidhi.
"Can you eat flowers?"
Explaining that she promoted edible flowers across the country after she started growing flowers, Ibidhi said:
"As it's not a well-known business in Tunisia, it was difficult for me to start growing flowers used in cooking and medicine. I wanted to start my project with the agricultural incentive programmes provided by the state, but I couldn't convince them. So I bought a plot of land in this region (Tabarka) with my own resources and set up this business. As this region is close to the Algerian border, it is also open to tourism, and the presence of luxury hotels and restaurants is advantageous, because our main customers are hotels, luxury restaurants and pharmaceutical laboratories that produce nutritional supplements."
"My aim is to export the flowers we import"
Stating that although she started this business in difficult conditions, he was sending products to France and Algeria because of the quality of the produce she was growing, Ibidhi concluded her remarks as follows:
"My aim is to export the flowers we import. Initially, I want to export my products by promoting them in the Middle East and Africa. "
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