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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Youth Employment in Agriculture as a Solid Solution to ending Hunger and Poverty in Africa

Roland Fomundam
Roland FomundamGreenHouse Ventures LtdUnited States of America

1. Experience as a Youth in the Agriculture Sector

It has been an amazing experience for me especially being a starter in the field of focus. I am deploying low cost greenhouses in Cameroon. It is the first time it is being done. Up until my presence, Cameroonians did not trully belief greenhouses could do well in Cameroon - it has been the most rewarding experience seeing these beautiful fruits growing through time until harvest. Amazingly, we have turned the use of the greenhouse into a multiuse tool with potential to amerliore several handicaps faced by agrculture in Africa. 

And over the years, our exploits with the greenhouses have been record setting from growing crops with extended shelf life, healthier and hence more valuable than outdoor grown crops. We have also been able to use the greenhouses to grow crops year round, gaining in large harvest(on small lots of land compared to outdoor agriculture) consistent in quality and quantity to supply several markets. 

Being a youth, born and raised in this communities and being seen trailblazing has been a blessing to me. More so in the areas of agriculture where very few are venturing into nor innovating in the field. 

I grew up around farms in Cameroon while living with my aunt Rose and personally witnessed how small-scale farmers were neglected. She worked atleast 10 hours a day for 6 days each week cultivating and collecting tomatoes. She spent the 7th day selling a handful at the local market and delivered the remainder to wholesale distributors who knew she was desperate to sell before the tomatoes perished and compensated her with far less than she deserved. 
Upon leaving Cameroon, I also witnessed the challenges faced by the government in addressing issues in agriculture. Being raised on the farms and studied at a prestigious University, I realized I had the background to effectively introduce solutions that will change agriculture in Cameroon forever.
I am an entrepreneur by training and in every crisis, I see opportunities. Today, I am capitalizing on these opportunities and positioning myself to lead several operations within Cameroon. I also plan to run for President of the country.

2. Major Achievements and Success Stories

The inability of local citizens especially small-scale farmers to grow crops year round is a major challenge especially in developing countries where there are no affordable technologies for indoor farming. This leads to loss of income and productivity during the off-season as well as a hike in market prices for seasonal crops. These farmers tend to over produce during on-seasons but the lack of affordable preservation mechanisms deepens their losses. They are unable to meet up market demands and incur losses in the supply chain, which further exacerbates their socio economic standards.

As a solution, we have customized the affordable greenhouse technology for our communities and enabled small-scale farmers and other producers to become more productive and more profitable.

Using the affordable greenhouse technology, we have established a one-stop shop that develops, deploys and markets the technology to multiple users and also training participants in the process. In so doing, we have emerged as the nations premier sustainable agriculture company with a goal to empower the local citizens with the technology, giving them the unique ability to grow crops year round backed by a market platform to package and channel their harvests to target markets. The end result is a healthy environment with a population that has become more productive and more profitable.

So, since inception, GHV has pioneered the exploitation of this technology in Cameroon; customized the technology for every ecological zone and useful for a wide variety of crops; standardized the cultivation of several crops to maximize production and minimize loss; trained many and finally developed a Farm Franchise model which has attracted the masses into greenhouse and sustainable farming. We are also pioneering the development of greenhouse dryers and dehydrators.

Our technology and business model continuous to gain attention and widely accepted in several communities nationwide.

3. What the Rwanda Youth Conference Should Address

The conference should address the following:

a. Access to funding to agrientrepreneurs with viable projects not back by any collateral

b. The development of private agribusiness incubators solely independent of the government

c. The formation of a coalition of agricentrepreneurs throughout the continent for the exchange and sharing of ideas for mutual benefits.