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Code Cash Crop was a platform to show the world my solution for fresh food delivery and sustainability – Folasewa Abdulsalam
With her amazing pitch and personality, she secured the second spot in the Code Cash Crop 3.0 Ag- Hackathon. This is Folasewa Abdulsalam, a 5th-year student of computer science and maths student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who also doubles as a research and Innovation intern at Data Scientist Network. In this article, she walks us through her Code Cash Crop journey and life after the ag-hackathon and offers candid advice on how to follow your aspirations and make them come true.
Last year, you emerged as the first runner-up and the only woman to make it to the final stage at the Code Cash Crop ag- hackathon. Congratulations on that feat. But let’s rewind a bit; what motivated you to join Code Cash Crop last year?
Thank you very much. It was such an honor.
Honestly, I was motivated to sign up for the ag-hackathon because I saw it as an avenue to make money and let people know about what I am building. It was more like killing two birds with one stone. I came across CCC on Twitter, and even though I was initially skeptical to register because I wasn’t sure if it was legit, I am still glad I took the shot.
As the old saying advises, you should always grab an opportunity when you see one. And that’s exactly what you did, which is admirable. However, what pain point drove you to find a solution in the ag-hackathon?
I observed a problem with the end-to-end delivery of perishable vegetables for farmers and end-consumers. My solution, PalmFarms, is a B to C farm management platform that connects customers and farmers directly. It allows customers to buy fresh vegetables from the source and helps farmers with their sales analytics. I pitched this idea at the Code Cash Crop 3.0 hackathon to make it easier for people like you and me to access fresh food without any hassle.
In what ways did CCC 3.0 make a significant impact on your work and life? what did you find most useful in the program, and how has it helped you improve your solution?
It's no doubt my finances, to some extent, improved. However, I was enlightened about what is happening in the market. During the ag-hackathon, I learned that it's a different ballgame in the business world. The fact that your product is good on paper does not mean it will be acceptable or useful in the market.
Following up on last year’s event, how has your company/personal brand innovated around tech & finance?
During the panel session, we were advised on some things we had to improve. And it's not a tech thing; it was about administration. The brand paused on enhancing product features; rather, we have been focusing more on permeating the farmer-brand relationship.
We are super proud of your journey so far. How have you or your business grown since the ag-hackathon?
It’s progressing nicely, although combining the brand with schooling has not been easy. The rope is still long enough for improvement to be made.
What are Nigerians’ key /unique challenges in accessing life-enhancing infrastructural development within the agricultural sector?
The first would be access to information. Even with social media, Nigerians still face this a lot. Nigerians generally have this facade that you can get anything on social media. However, the people at the grassroots of agriculture don't have access to social media, so how will they access the so-called knowledge hub on social media to enable them to access life-enhancing infrastructural development?
Flexibility is also something I noticed; when I converse with specific sets of people (e.g., farmers), I notice they just don't want to bend to technology; they don't want to leverage technology to drive their occupation. They are not ready to embrace it, and if they are not, how will they have access to life-enhancing infrastructural development?
Networking is also a key problem. Some Nigerians surround themselves with people who absolutely have zero impact on them. Their networks cannot even open ways to another network, and they keep circling around in an endless loop with no hope of a breakthrough.
Are there any initiatives/steps your business is taking to enhance market-led solutions in Africa?
Yes. After I finish school, the brand hopes to go down to the grassroots, develop a relationship of trust, introduce the system to them, get feedback, and improve together. It's a collaborative effort.
Where do you see your business in the next 3 to 5 years?
By then, I hope someone like you, and I are just a click away from farm-fresh vegetables.
What are your thoughts on Code Cash Crop, and whom would you recommend attending?
It is a brilliant program, a wonderful opportunity to network, put yourself out there, and see the world as your stage. I recommend the program any time, any day.