Home » Diatoula – Les Terres Douces: the agro-ecological farm of the Coulibaly couple in Ivory Coast – Being sensitive to your environment

Diatoula – Les Terres Douces: the agro-ecological farm of the Coulibaly couple in Ivory Coast – Being sensitive to your environment

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Diatoula – Les Terres Douces: the agro-ecological farm of the Coulibaly couple in Ivory Coast – Being sensitive to your environment

Almost 20 years ago, Marie, Alsatian and daughter of a winegrower, met the Ivorian Mamadou in Bamako. This encounter not only gave rise to 3 magnificent children: it was also the source of an exceptional project, a magnificent agroecological farm-inn located in the Marahoué region of Côte d’Ivoire.

Like many agricultural countries in the world, the deforestation and the fraudulent pesticides are ravaging Côte d’Ivoire. This situation leads in passing to an impoverishment of the soil, inducing at the same time a worrying rural exodus.

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If nothing is done to reconcile agriculture with local biodiversity, this agricultural giant risks becoming a victim of its own success within a few years. Marie and Mamadou have understood this well. Thanks to their exceptional ecological initiative (Diatoula – Les Terres Douces), it is now possible to rediscover the pleasure of growing and eating local products, without pesticides, while spending a tourist moment of rare benevolence.

From a love story to an agricultural project for future generations

The farm-inn project was born 18 years ago, when the Coulibaly couple met in Bamako. But it is finally in 2018, near Yamoussoukro where Mamadou grew up, that it will come true.

“It all started with my meeting with Mamadou, of the possibility of creating a bridge between North and South, of our original attachment to the land and above all of the common desire to raise our children in another world…”


Diatoula – Les Terres Douces was nourished by the journey of two souls to finally take this very significant name. Diatoula is in fact the name of the village, in a suburb of Bamako, where the idea of ​​the agricultural project was born. In the Bambara language, Diatoula means “the arid land that turns green again”. Et l’extension “The Sweet Lands” is the name of the street they lived in Salleboeuf, on the outskirts of Bordeaux.

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The farm-inn seen from above: photovoltaic panel powering the house ©Marie Engel Coulibaly

Today, this ecological farm-inn is part of the heritage that the couple intends to bequeath to future generations. The organization to make the project grow is done in a beautiful complicity and in harmony with their family life.

The roles are well arranged so that Mamadou, through his expertise, takes care of the development of the agricultural part of the farm and the management of the team, while Marie takes care of the general stewardship of the house that she initially drew thanks to her skills in architecture. It also takes care of the management of guest rooms.

The legal status of the farm-inn is associative, but remains a family experience which benefits 7 permanent employees to date. The adventure also meets the involvement of all the inhabitants and neighboring indigenous communities: “ without them we do not exist; if they are against us, we do nothing! explains Ms. Coulibaly. All employees come from nearby camps and are constantly made aware of ecology and responsible agriculture.

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Betting on agro-ecology in Côte d’Ivoire: an avant-garde bet

Faced with the environmental abuses of agrochemicals and their harmful impacts on health, consumption habits and ways of cultivating are changing in the four corners of the world. And Africa is no exception. The Cradle of Humankind, where more than 60% of remaining arable land at the global level, adapts and sees the emergence of agricultural actors who open the way to agro-ecological alternatives that give hope, like the Coulibaly couple.

Geographically, we are in Sinfra, not far from the Ivorian political capital (Yamoussoukro). This department in the center-west of Côte d’Ivoire is home to clear forest vegetation that has been strongly impacted by deforestation.

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Diatoula-the sweet lands © Marie Engel Coulibaly

In this locality populated mainly by indigenous Gouro peoples, the Coulibaly couple was able to acquire a space of 36 hectares, making it possible to concretize a project which will certainly serve as an example in the Ivorian agricultural sector.

Agriculture is indeed a source of worrying environmental degradation in Côte d’Ivoire according to several observers. In addition to depleting the soil, the excessive use of phytosanitary products is becoming a real danger in several localities.

Marie and Mamadou have correctly diagnosed this problem and have decided to set up this farm-inn in response to the crisis of meaning generated by chemical and extensive agriculture.

The idea with this farm-inn is to arrive through a family experience, to spread a collective dynamic of returning to the link with nature.

An atypical agro-ecological concept and a concrete response to a malaise

Pierre Rabhi would have been delighted to discover this initiative, he who has been the champion of agroecology all his life. On the 36 hectares agglutinate a diversity of crops that grow without pesticides, according to agroecological principles.

Based on the idea of ​​integrating agriculture within biodiversity, agroecology involves solar energy, composting as an alternative to chemical fertilizers, agroforestry and the association of livestock and cropping. Because what would agriculture be if all biodiversity collapsed?

Pineapple plantation Bottle between the rows of a mango tree plantation ©Marie Engel Coulibaly

Diatoula – Les Terres Douces is therefore concretely a farm-inn made up of three guest rooms to immerse yourself in an environment of deep rurality, bordered by a diversity of cultures including the cultivation of cocoa, cashew , plantain, cassava, yam etc.

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The huts reserved for the accommodation of visitors are built with local eco-responsible materials, Geoconcrete: it is earth with very little cement, which allows for resistant and refreshing bricks. No humidity problem inside, very good insulation so no need for an air conditioner.

Cashew tree from the agroecological farm DIATOULA-Les Terres Douces ©Marie Engel Coulibaly

In this environment conducive to agricultural tourism, there are also sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, beehives… Visitors can immerse themselves in this rural universe bordered by a biodiversity that thrives over time. They can also swim, discover and taste local dishes cooked exclusively with products from the farm.

Room for visitors ©Marie Engel Coulibaly

Too often, tourists visit Côte d’Ivoire without tasting the depths of Côte d’Ivoire. The reality is that it is increasingly difficult for tourists to taste the country’s terroirs and local gastronomy, especially when they discover Côte d’Ivoire while staying in Abidjan. This observation also maintains unease, as evidenced by the feedback from visitors to the farm, who see it as a local paradise, a pure source and a concrete response to this unease, far from the cacophony of Abidjan.

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All the commitment of the Franco-Ivorian couple is also reflected in the fact that during the visitors’ stay, Marie and Mamadou share their passion for the knowledge and preservation of endemic living species, discuss the links between agriculture and biodiversity, talk about the importance of soil health in preserving the nutritional quality of food, etc.

Finally, it is important to add that this exceptional project remains a daily challenge. The experience is not easy because, between the wanderings of the herds of oxen and the local structural problems, there is still a long way to go to achieve the desired objectives. However, the Coulibaly couple know how to draw positive energy by keeping in mind the adage that says that “He who plants trees knowing that he will not be able to take advantage of their shade, has just begun to understand the meaning of life. »

“As for the workforce, at first it took a long time to find the right people to support us in this project. But by dint of being demanding, today we have a formidable team. »


Within 5 years, the couple aims to bring out a nourishing forest in this space. What a beautiful sight!

Yves-Landry Kouame

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