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In December 2007, Dr William Tita and Roland Fomundam, the Senior advisor and Executive Director of Youth Action Africa travelled to Cameroon to support a micro finance and micro enterprise program that had been initiated by a group of 60 women (Jolly Sisters) and 42 men (Labor Group). This group of 102 had a goal to form a Common Initiative Group (CIG) in Bali, North West province, Cameroon. Their objectives were to: (1) Produce crops through cooperative farming, (2) be involve in animal husbandry and use funds to help orphans in the area as well as provide health care for sick members when in need, (3) operate a sinking (money to cover any upcoming expenses) and savings fund where members get short term loans to support other agricultural business activities. Despite this preliminary success in organizing the group and setting measureable objectives, their goals were unattainable due to: lack of funding; lack of adequate farming supplements like fertilizers and utilization of technologies, and lack of a well-defined leadership team to promote the agenda of the group.

Dr Tita and Roland arrived in Cameroon with collaborators from the University of Buea, and the University of Nschang in Cameroon. The goal was to provide farmer groups with funding and to engage the students from these various universities. This helped the students to gain experiential learning while teaching microfinance management to group members, and it employed new farming technologies to boost their agricultural production.

A $20,000 loan was given to the group by Dr Tita at a 0% interest rate. The money was used to provide micro credit loans to individuals and non-profit organizations at a 2% interest rate. They invested the amount in buying fertilizers and other farming tools to be employed on their farms. This investment yielded a 100% profit with no defaults. The profits were further invested for acquiring more farmland, better seeds and increased fertilizers. They used a part of their profits to provide micro-finance loans to other farmer groups which in turn yielded more profits.

The increase in farming output came at a price to the group; they had to sell all the produce at a fast-pace, and hence, reduced prices as they couldn't store the fresh produce for extended periods. This dilemma in storage facility gave birth to our business idea - to build an agricultural processing and marketing unit to complement the farming output. This project will be known as JolaVenture

 
 
 
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