The DOEN Foundation supports pioneers who use an entrepreneurial approach to come up with solutions for a better world. Read the story of Fernando Andres Cojulun, head of Technical Services at InspiraFarms. InspiraFarms helps farmers in Rural Kenya with turn-key refrigerated storage solutions, technical support and affordable leases that enable small and growing agribusinesses to access energy-efficient food processing technology, reduce produce losses, cut energy costs, access new markets and grow sustainably.
I feel proud of being part of this company. Proud of helping the company to build this dream that we had years ago and especially that we’ve been driven by a real need of this world, which is the security of food.
We started from scratch with what I think was a solid idea back in the day. We were very clear of the need in the sector but we didn’t have a clear idea of the level of acceptance from our potential clients, because there is nothing like InspiraFarms. That was a big challenge for me.
Coming from where I come from - there is some farming background in my family in Central America - I’m very convinced about the impact we can generate with InspiraFarms. Specially from what I’ve seen, that a lot of farmers lost the opportunity of doing more profitable business because of not having the right equipment.
What means a lot to me is hearing from farmers face to face that InspiraFarms will change their lives in a good way. What has been very inspiring to me was finding new clients and helping them to change the business models and the way that they are addressing both the supply chain and the markets. It’s a synergy from their business vision and what they can do with InspiraFarms as part of that business. It goes beyond only the selling part. It’s also finding out that we are helping them to rethink their businesses. It’s the best of both worlds.
I want to believe that we are a game changer in the industry. Personally speaking I don’t know where I’m going to be located in the coming years but what I see is regions like East Africa and regions like Central America operating with lots of cold storages from InspiraFarms, like at farm level. I mean, are there other competitors, people replicating? Maybe, and that is okay. Because the need is there, the need is huge. Especially taken into account that most of what we eat comes from small or medium sized farms. We need crazy people like the DOEN Foundation that actually believe in what we do, that can make it happen by supporting us. Without DOEN it would have taken so much longer to help those farmers.
Author: Indra Heerkens
Are you an innovative pioneer in Eastern Africa who is working on a sustainable, fair and inclusive food system? Then we are looking for you! We can help make your initiative bigger, more visible and stronger to accelerate the transition to a new, circular economy. Read more about our new programme: 'Sustainable Food System'.