22 “You can be a brutal business person and
find ways to integrate people who cannot
pay into your business model. But it doesn’t
work the other way, if you’re an NGO, and you
see everyone as a beneficiary,” he says. “I
don’t want [partners] for whom this would be
second or third priority. I want people who will
give up everything in life to sell these green-
houses and support the farmers.”
Roland Fomundam, CEO of Greenhouse
Ventures, is one of those people. He
formed Greenhouse Ventures in 2012 to
license the technology from HESE and
launch it in Cameroon.
To introduce greenhouses to local farm-
ers, Fomundam and his colleagues tried an
unconventional approach: they built green-
houses for their own use, grew crops, and
took the produce to sell in the local market.
“We focused on creating as many different
types of produce as we could,” Fomundam
says. “Based on what we produced, [farm-
ers] could see the [potential] return on
the investment if they owned a green-
house. This helped the market understand
the value.” Farmers began approaching
Greenhouse Ventures’ sales team to learn
more about how the technology works.
To encourage more direct community
engagement, Greenhouse Ventures also
installed greenhouses near orphanages and
involved the children in growing crops, and it
gave several greenhouses away to local uni-
versities and community groups. Fomundam
describes all of these efforts as necessary
to building interest. “To catch a fish you
need bait. We knew we would not be making
money in the first year, so everything was an
investment. [By] now, honestly, we have a
demand we aren’t able to supply.”
Mehta says HESE’s partnership with
Greenhouse Ventures has worked out so well
that HESE recently expanded the organiza-
tion’s licensing rights to three more countries
in West Africa, including Nigeria and Ghana.
But not all of HESE’s partnerships have
had similar success. The program’s original
licensee in Kenya was given sole licensing
rights to 10 countries in East Africa, but
Sample HESE greenhouse quality control checklist
YES NO Is the site chosen completely level?
YES NO Are all posts perfectly level? YES NO Is the insect mesh flush with the side posts and buried underground to seal it completely?
YES NO Does the door open and close smoothly, swinging towards the outside of the greenhouse?
YES NO Is there a 20cm-deep and 20cm-distant trench along the outside of the greenhouse?
YES NO Does the door have a handle that can be locked?
YES NO Is the insect mesh free of any holes or protruding points that could damage the glazing?
YES NO Are both sides of the greenhouse equal lengths?
YES NO Is there a gap 0.6-0.7cm wide bet ween the door and frame to allow the wood to expand?
YES NO Are there diagonal supports on the door?
YES NO Is each post firmly secure in the ground?
YES NO Area all splints at least 0.5m long, aligned flush, and facing down?
YES NO Is the site completely cleared of debris?
YES NO Are the front and back of the greenhouse equal lengths?
YES NO Are there flaps of extra glazing installed on the outside and inside of the doorframe to ensure proper sealing?
YES NO Was the construction process completed in t wo days?
YES NO Is the bottom of the door frame sealed with dirt?
YES NO Are all the side, queen and king posts uniformly spaced as outlined in the construction manual?
YES NO Have all the posts that come in contact with glazing been smoothed?
YES NO Are splinted laterals staggered?
INSEC T MESH EVALUATION
DOOR INS TALLATION EVALUATION
YES NO Are all nails out of view on the inside of the greenhouse?
YES NO Are both side and queen laterals level to their pairs?
YES NO Are all of the diagonal posts flush with the side and king lateral posts, and notched where they meet the queen posts?
YES NO Are umbrella nails being used to connect the glazing to the structure and are they hammered all the way in?
YES NO Are bottom edges of the glazing on front and back of the greenhouse buried underground?
YES NO Are washers evenly spaced 30-40cm apart?
YES NO Is there a folded strip of glazing outside on each post?
YES NO Does the roll-up bar stop below the insect mesh and are the ties attached under the glazing?
YES NO Is there a plastic washer bet ween each nail and the glazing?
YES NO Are the bottom edges of the glazing on the sides secured and layered at all corners?
YES NO Are all the side, queen and king posts of respective uniform height?