Jim Bakoume and Philippe Jong have two things in common: the desire to bring more to the development of Cameroon, and agriculture. It is in this perspective that Jim, 22, a software engineering student at the Higher Institute of Siantou in Yaoundé decided to put his expertise at the service of agriculture, which he identifies as a growing sector. He then launched the application Farmtech. Philippe is a “returnee” who after a business management degree at UQAM, returned to Cameroon to indulge in his passion, food. On the ground, he noticed a lack of quality garden products on the Cameroonian market and decided to launch his own company, ÜkoFood, to compensate for this lack. Meet the two young men who may not have chosen the easiest path …
Inspire Afrika Magazine: Philip, you founded ÜkoFood and Jim, Farmtech. Can you tell us more? What are they about?
Jim: Farmtech is a dedicated solution for farmers, which has three main pillars: Notifications by SMS on food prices in different markets, on weather data, and on the tips and tricks to optimize their activity; A marketplace where we connect farmers and buyers; Workshops on how to use Farmtech and show farmers new techniques in their field.
Philippe: ÜkoFood is a brand of organic gardening products launched in 2014 and distributed by the cooperative society Pandora Lands. We help restaurants located in Douala with their supply of high quality fresh food. We aspire to become the first partner of restaurants in Douala.
IAM: Have you done training in agronomy? Philippe in a forum, you explained how difficult it is to document on agriculture in Cameroon, especially when we are focused on organic products. Where did you learn the basics you have today?
Philippe: I have no training in agronomy but I thoroughly read on the market gardening and the different branches of agriculture. I informed myself a lot on the internet. On the field, I conducted many exchanges of good practices in order to carry forward all my crops. I attended various conferences and seminars in France and Canada. From the technical point of view, I can say that I have a solid knowledge of the business. But I think the missing information is local information. All the knowledge I had on agriculture were based on Western reality. But according to geographical areas and climates, we do not practice agriculture in the same way. When it does exist, local information is outdated.
Jim: I’m in the same situation as Philippe. I have no special training in agri-business. I learned on the job and I enormously documented myself. Information is always available if one really tries.
Read the full interview on page 10