21-year-old Korotoumou Sidibé is 2016 winner of the NESCAFÉ Get Started Africa initiative, which challenges Africans to build a better society through innovation.
Korotoumou beat a field of nearly 2,000 18 to 30-year-olds who entered the competition to win US$30,000 and mentoring to help bring her ideas to life.
Her winning idea tackles starvation by reducing waste in the food supply chain. Produce that would have been thrown away is saved through better package or preservation.
Simply by changing practices at harvest, transportation and during storage stages, Korotoumou, an agriculture student, believes mountains of wasted food could be used for good. At the same time, small farmers across the continent could benefit from extra income.
Korotoumou believes her plans will benefit both people and the environment, and one day hopes to build her own food transformation facility, so that no human ever has to go to bed hungry.
“I always hear people say ‘let’s develop Africa’, but I think how can this happen when there are people starving and dying of hunger,” said Korotoumou. “Imagine a world without malnutrition and starvation, where food waste is instead a valued, much needed, product. This is a world that we are one step closer to thanks to the NESCAFÉ Get Started initiative backing my idea.”
Besides setting up a food processing plant, her ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of food waste in Mali and Africa through her unique preservation methods.
Koro's expectation is to create a training center where farmers and agricultural traders will be taught essential agricultural and management principles, to better equip them in minimizing food losses and waste. She also wants to teach them how to maximize profits, promote their products more efficiently and analyze the supply and demand of the market place.
Even before she set the ball rolling, she invested some of her prize money in “Timiya”; a fruits and vegetables shop she plans to open in order to prepare the public for her brand. With her ambition, projected earnings from this business would be invested into her long-term project.
Koro is currently working hard to kick start her project at end of this year to begin her journey of impacting lives in Mali and Africa.
The annual NESCAFÉ Get Started challenge encourages young people to submit entrepreneurial plans which could benefit others and society.