It is named AgroLight SARL and was created from its initiator’s will to undertake a business venture on his homeland. He is called Gnépa-Joël Anani, a young French entrepreneur. Born in Côte d’Ivoire, he arrived very young in Europe where he spent more than twenty years studying and holding various professional positions in management, market analysis and the distribution of specialized equipment, first in France and then in England. He holds an Advanced Technician Diploma in Business Management obtained in Paris and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Plymouth in England.
Bent at innovating on his native land, he engaged in organic urban agriculture in all its forms (hydroponics, above-ground agriculture, permaculture, vertical gardens, etc.). The medium and long term objective being to bring the agricultural production sites closer to the populations to allow each household to eat reasonably without waiting for foodstuffs to come from elsewhere. That was for the young entrepreneur one of the solutions to future food challenges in Africa by 2050. “Considering the decrease in farming land and its forests, rural exodus, difficulties linked to the transport of foodstuffs to cities, post-harvest losses due to complicated and inappropriate logistics, the scarcity of fresh products, the strong urbanization of our cities, are forcing us to rethink our agricultural model. By launching AgroLight SARL, I want to propose a concept where food no longer comes only from rural areas to urban areas, but is, in addition, directly produced and consumed in the city “, explains Mr. Gnépa-Joël Anani for whom urban farming, close to the populations, must be ecological and responsible, no other farming system being more suitable.
AgroLight SARL and its organic urban agriculture endeavor aims to be a production unit for everything that matters when it comes to human feeding. This means the production of all types of fruits and vegetables, but also offering animal proteins through the breeding of farm poultry and other farmyard animals but also above-ground fish ponds, all organically. The company carries out field operations in Abidjan and several other cities in the interior of Côte d’Ivoire, and operates remotely in several countries of the West Africa sub-region such as Burkina Faso, Guinea and Benin.
The business, launched in September 2017, faces a number of challenges, including the fears of city dwellers of being poisoned by pesticides. In this regard, the AgroLight SARL team strives regularly to reassure residents of the responsibility for this practice and the merits of this presence in the city, the aim of which is the availability of fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables all year round without interruption. Also, in organic urban agriculture, the other challenge consists in finding a network of customers with whom you make positive returns, customers who value organic agriculture and are thus ready to pay a little more for their food. On this point, AgroLight SARL can count on its network of local partners: “They are first of all our suppliers, those who enable us to work professionally and diligently every day. They are also individuals, restaurants, associations, companies, NGOs, who solicit our services for various investment projects. Their loyalty brings financial stability, giving us the possibility to budget 3 to 6 months in advance, thus, rendering work much easier,” explains Gnépa-Joël Anani, the young entrepreneur who prefers to invest his own money in order to maintain a certain decision-making power without external influences. However, he remains open to proposals.
On his appreciation of the result at this stage, he says: “The beginnings were difficult as is often the case, but once the right people were found, customer loyalty, diligent and professional output, the results came up naturally.”
Guided at the start by the desire to innovate, the agricultural entrepreneur remains on this momentum to maintain the distinctive touch that characterizes his AgroLight SARL business. “We would like to obtain free spaces such as roundabouts, schoolyards, slabs of administrative buildings, to be able to develop our expertise and allow populations, canteens, workers to have fresh and healthy products at hand.” He previews other partnerships with associations and NGOs that operate for the integration of vulnerable segments of the population such as women and young people. He also expects support from decision-makers for access to public spaces in order to increase the number of productions sites in Cote d’Ivoire and elsewhere.
To those who wish to embark on a similar activity, Mr. Anani advises: “They should start by training themselves very well and then consider themselves as their first maneuver and not play the boss. Start with what they have and reinvest in the activity to grow exponentially and surely without losing sight of the goal, to make Africa self-sufficient in food by 2050 “.
AgroLight SARL regularly offers professional qualification internships to agricultural students, as well as intermittent training sessions for laborers and other young people within NGO activities. The company, which currently has 5 permanent employees, is opening 4 new positions at the start of 2020.
By Rostand Meli
To reach AgroLight SARL, please use the contact details below:
In Côte d’Ivoire : Cocody angré château, Abidjan, Côté d’Ivoire
+225 09377041 (WhatsApp) / +225 79519515 (WhatsApp)
In France : Versailles Grand Parc
2 Place de Touraine, 78000 Versailles
+33 (0) 609532569 (WhatsApp)
Other useful contacts:
Web site : www.agrolightci.com
Facebook: les jardins biologiques de AgroLight CI
Tweeter: AgroLight SARL