Africa’s food security is the responsibility of Agriculture stakeholders in Africa. In the quest to shed more light on stakeholders’ activities, in an exclusive interview African Harvesters (AH) Roland Foumundam, CEO GreenHouse Ventures Ltd, Cameroon speaks on greenhouse technology and increase in food production. Excerpt.
African Harvesters: Tell us about yourself and your Agribusiness
GHV: Roland Fomundam has become the standard name in the area of sustainable agriculture development in Cameroon. He holds a Master of Science in Technology Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University, Boston, USA and is the founder and CEO of GreenHouse Ventures Ltd (GHV) – the company with a mission to use the affordable greenhouse technology in improve quality and quantity of produce for consumers; increase production and profits for farmers while saving the environment.
African Harvesters: How is your business participating in the development of Food Security in Africa?
GHV: In Cameroon, we are introducing these affordable greenhouses in the hands of many. Moreso, we are training them in best practices to ensure quality and quantity for a aide variety of produce especially vegetables, fruits and even seeds, under a cooperative model.
We have also developed a marketing hub to buy back produce from our members who own these greenhouses – assuring them of a market once they are able to meet quality and quantity. In so doing, we are fast becoming a one-stop hub for the production and sale of fruits and vegetables for local and regional markets.
Our unique ability to engage multiple populations in the cultivation of these fruits and vegetables coupled with our ability to aggregate the produce from multiple growers, gives us the immeasurable potential to become a large-scale producer and supplier of food to many across the continent.
African Harvesters: How much did you need to start your Agribusiness and how were you able to raise that capital?
GHV: GreenHouse Ventures is a product of innovation in motion. Our plans at the beginning are different from our realizations now. So, we had in mind to start very small and grow very big. With that in mind, our best model was to bootstrap – using personal finances to have a proof of concept and then engaging with the investment community to grow and scale the venture.
African Harvesters: What are some of the challenges you face in your Agribusiness and how do you overcome those challenges?
GHV: Our greatest challenge has been the adoption of the technology. A country where the technology adoption rate is relatively low, our barriers to entry have been quite stiff. But with incessant sensitization and consistent proof of results, we are slowly on our way to the much deserved success.
African Harvesters: Where do you see your Agribusiness in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
GHV: Five years from now, GreenHouse Ventures Ltd will become a leading manufacturer and marketer of the greenhouse technology in Africa. With such a success, we will become a major producer and supplier of greenhouse grown products throughout Africa. Our end goal is to set up a processing factory to transform these raw fruits and vegetables into finished products with desirable packages for various markets.
African Harvesters: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
GHV: Africa is the future of the world. Capitalize on the first mover’s advantage with a sustainable business model. It is just a matter of time, the rush for Africa will become a barrier for late comers. So, make Hey while the sun is up.
Agribusiness: GreenHouse Ventures Ltd