Why did you decide to take up cucumber cultivation?
The fruit has proven a demand and the consumers are in need of natural and high value cucumbers. The cultivation of cucumbers is certainly in line with the real and perceived demands - which continues to show a steady growth. More and more people are becoming health conscious and are inclined to consuming cucumbers among other fruits and vegetables. We aim to fill the voids in value creation in the food chain. So, growing crops that are not so common and that can be grown in the greenhouses is our interest.
Would you say cucumber cultivation offers opportunities for youths?
The agricultural sector is a very fruitful sector and even more attractive especially to the youth of this nation. We are facing a rapid growth in youth population; a fast growing middle class; high levels of rural - urban migrations; high unemployment rates among the youths and much more. These are all indicators of opportunities masked within the crisis. And youths are best placed to take advantage of them. At GreenHouse Ventures, we continue to provide training, volunteer, internship and job opportunities for many. We are also working to create investment opportunities for youths in greenhouse farming through the establishment of our franchise model backed by a buy back policy.
What are the main challenges in the sector and what solutions would you propose?
The industry still lacks technological innovations to increase productivity and minimize losses. The lack of such innovations continue to impede the profit potentials of producers/investments and hence making it unattractive, at first sight. Greenhouse farming is one of the solutions to Cameroon's agricultural challenges especially for small-scale farmers. Greenhouse farming has proven to assure high yields on small plots with extended shelf lives and high value. Greenhouse farming has also proven to be less tedious and more attractive to youths - a fundamental solution to emerging agriculture. And GreenHouse Ventures has complemented this by establishing a business model that assures production and profits.
Can you tell us who Roland Fomundam is?
Roland Fomundam is the Founder and CEO at GreenHouse Ventures Ltd - Cameroon's premier sustainable agriculture company. Roland is a Business and Technology expert specialized in developing and enabling processes for the bottom pyramid markets. Roland is also the Founder and Chair at Youth Action Africa; a non-profit platform setting up entrepreneurship centres in Cameroon and elsewhere in Africa. He consults several businesses at home and abroad with a core focus on enabling good business practices globally. Roland is a visiting lecturer in some Cameroonian Universities where he teaches Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a motivation coach, a mentor and a goodwill ambassador.