Latest Event Updates

One Year On

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It’s been over a year now since Smart Globe International, LLC, entered into agreements for the purchase of 2 plots of land in Cameroon, each about 15 hectares/37 acres.
Most of this year was spent preparing the company for field operations. It included the extensive negotiation and administrative processes to acquire land (much more complicated than expected). It also included creating the business entity of SGI in Cameroon, research projects, and building management systems for the field operations, required standards, human resources, and finance.
At the end of 2016, Patrick, CEO, traveled to Cameroon to advance the projects with the team in Cameroon. He spent time with the agronomists, visiting the farms, aligning the Field Management teams all to the company vision, strategy, administration, and standards of operation.
Now, we are excited to share what is happening on the ground!

Arabica coffee farming

Our sustainable organic Arabica coffee farm is being developed on the plot consisting of savannah land, grasses, and brush in the high-altitude mountainous Northwest Province.
We hired an agronomy consultant, specializing in coffee. With his help, we hired a small team and began a coffee nursery. We now have thousands of coffee saplings under our care.
The team prepared the land for planting of food crops which will be intercropped with the coffee, when the saplings are mature enough. Food crops such as beans, potatoes, and chili pepper, are being planted now.
Some of the challenges we met were finding a reliable tractorist for land preparation and finding enough women to hire. We also had difficulty doing any business on Mondays & Tuesdays (strikes) in response to civil unrest in the country and the subsequent shutdown of the internet in this region.

Cocoa farming

Our sustainable organic cocoa farm is being developed at lower altitude, in the Center Province, which is more humid and forested. We hired an agronomist, specializing in cocoa to run the operations. With her help, we hired a Farm Supervisor, and together they have been managing the preparation of the land for food crops to be grown in an agroforestry system.
Current projects include the development of chili pepper nursery, acquisition and transport of food crop seeds and cocoa saplings to plant into May, and building an encampment, since the site is quite remote.
Some of the challenges we met were poor telecommunications & physical access to the site due to it being remote and off an unmaintained dirt road. We also had difficulty communicating between the farm and management due to civil unrest in the country and the subsequent shutdown of the internet in some regions. As a result, we have had a hard time finding reliable contractors and laborers, paid higher prices for work, and hired an agronomy technician to manage the operations more closely. [Our agronomist is currently on maternity leave and will continue to consult with us going forward.]

Irrigation & Infrastructure Projects

While visiting Cameroon in December, Patrick met with a former professor of his, Dr. Monkam, at the University Institute of Technology of Douala, to further develop the plans for an irrigation system he drafted. Dr. Monkam helped set up a co-operative education arrangement with 3 undergraduate students and one doctoral candidate, who are now working with us to finalize the design and construct SGI’s combined Aquaculture and Drip irrigation systems.
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Irrigation Team (3 of 4) plus Operations Manager

Going Forward

As the irrigation team moves ahead, the SGI operations teams are planning to build physical structures on the farms that support the operations. We’ll be digging wells and building basic restrooms, storage areas, and camps.
To date, we have encountered nearly every kind of obstacle you can imagine, and those you never thought to imagine…
– from complicated colonial land laws to prevalent political corruption;
– from impassable washed out roads to employee health challenges;
– from communications challenges to cultural differences;
– from labor shortages to civil unrest that led to labor strikes and 93 days without internet service.
Doing business has been challenging, but we learn from every move and continue to persevere toward our vision of making a positive impact upon people’s livelihoods and empowerment through sustainable agriculture.
Thank you for your support of our work. We’ll report back again next quarter.

Ecstatic, Overjoyed, & Grateful

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20140810_132909Dear friends, family, and new connections,

Patrick and I want to sincerely thank you for your generosity and support for our project in Cameroon. At this time, we have raised $8,000 from 65 contributors (thought the site says differently). Wow! We are ecstatic and overjoyed that you believe in this venture and have chosen to help make it a reality.

P1090946At this point, we are getting ready to apply for social impact grants and loans to further our fundraising needs. We have been approached by several village chiefs in Cameroon who have expressed interest in bringing our investment to their villages. Overall, we have received very enthusiastic feedback from Cameroonian locals and there is excitement about Smart Globe International.

Again, thank you for your contributions and we will keep you posted on our next steps as we advance.

With gratitude,

Mara and Patrick Tcheunou

 

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Founder’s Reflections on Refugee Crisis, Loss, & Opportunity

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As this Labor Day week comes to a close and we remember the losses of 9/11/01, I reflect and am so grateful for the fact that I am in a country with opportunity for education and training, opportunity for work and opportunity to build a safe and prosperous environment for my family, especially for my son and his little brother (we’re expecting). Yet, I am saddened about the millions of migrants fleeing Africa to Europe or Central and South America to this country, the United States of America. Fathers and mothers are fleeing wars and poverty looking for a place where they can get a job and a safer life for their children.

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In Cameroon, my home country, thousands of people leave and walk weeks by foot to reach Libya, where they board unsafe boats to cross the Mediterranean, reach the shore of Europe and to an unknown destination. Currently, Cameroonian families who survive the journey wait, stuck and trapped on European shores trying to get in. All because they have lost any sense of hope in their homeland.

Can you even imagine the extreme pain those parents are experiencing? Can you imagine the desperation and love they must feel that would push those fathers and mothers to embark upon such an unimaginable, sad, and risky journey with their children? I grew up in Cameroon, seeing first-hand the extreme poverty and lack of opportunity that drives these women and men to leave their homeland. I was extremely fortunate to get enough education to get out of Cameroon and “make it” in America.

I know and feel strongly that we all need to provide these fellow humans with a better alternative. We need to provide them with what they need to stay home, take care of their family and cherish their homeland and culture. We need to invest in those countries if we can. We need to create jobs, promote education and inspire them that more is possible. The UN calls this sustainable development, and it’s a win-win proposition for investors and the people in those countries!

We can show them thWomen Coffee Farmers in Cameroon 1at true equality, individual responsibility, questioning status quo and innovation are essential ingredients to development. If enough investment reaches that country, fewer families will want to take the dangerous journey to Europe, more small cultural/tribal groups will maintain their languages and traditions, and many young people will have no reason to consider joining extremist groups like Boko Haram.

For me, growing up without these kinds of opportunities, I was very fortunate to have educated parents, who earned the minimum necessary to support our pursuit for education and pushed us. I was able to obtain my Engineering Degree and then come to the US for graduate school. While it is a nice story of success and immigration, I am far from my family, my homeland, and my culture. And, many people in my family and my entire village do not have access to or even want this life.


My wife and I created
Smart Globe International as a way to meet the many challenges described above. It will start 2 organic fair trade farms, for Cameroonian cash crops coffee and cocoa. The farms will create good paying jobs, opportunities for women, and access to technical education while meeting the growing demand for coffee and cocoa and boosting the shrinking supply of both. Additionally, we will contribute to more food security in Cameroon by integrating food crops that provide shade and nutrients for the coffee and cocoa. [The country of Cameroon has already committed to support sustainable growth of these crops as part of its economy and to increasing food security for its citizens.]

The Smart Globe International endeavor, like any well-thought profitable socially conscious investment, will produce these kinds of positive social impacts not only in Cameroon, but in the US and Europe in the long term. 

Please consider the investment in opportunity that Smart Globe International provides as a means to self-sufficiency, safety, and education for those who need. Watch our video and donate here:  http://igg.me/at/smartglobe. Thank you in advance for your donation and for sharing with your friends and family.

https://www.indiegogo.com/project/sustainable-coffee-and-cocoa-farming-in-cameroon/embedded

~Patrick

Crowdfunding Launch Press Release

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Smart Globe International Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Acquire Seeds for Sustainable Farms in Cameroon

Media Contact:
Name: Mara Trager Tcheunou
Email address: tamara.trager@smartglobeinternational.com
Phone: 303-641-1004

Denver, Colorado — September 2, 2015 Today, Patrick and Mara Tcheunou, founders of Smart Globe International (“SGI”) announce a crowdfunding campaign to seek support in building sustainable farms in the Central African nation of Cameroon, Patrick’s homeland. The project starts with the development of approximately 1,000 acres of land on two farms of organic, fair trade Arabica coffee and cocoa for export to the United States.

This is exciting news for coffee and cocoa lovers. Data shows the demand for coffee and chocolate products has been increasing while production has decreased. To make matters worse, a 2011 report published by the Bill and Melinda Foundation warns that chocolate might soon become a luxury product because of climate change. SGI’s farms are expected to create immediate job opportunities in Cameroon and in Denver, Colorado.

SGI’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise $105,000 to purchase seeds for coffee, cocoa and their bio-diversification crops. The crowdfunding campaign will run for 40 days and the SGI seeks support from people interested in supporting an organization committed to sustainable farming and social causes in Cameroon. “We believe that our company can care about the environment, community, and offer a quality product while still making profit.” Smart Globe International CEO Patrick Tcheunou said.

Patrick and Mara have no doubt that this will be a great undertaking and are confident of the success and the potential to help communities in Cameroon while advancing the cause of sustainable farming, fairtrade and organic farming. “We’re thrilled to launch our campaign as we know that we’ll be aiding Cameroonians while providing desirable coffee and cocoa to consumers,” Smart Globe International co-founder Mara Trager Tcheunou said.

Anyone interested in supporting SGI’s crowdfunding campaign is encouraged to donate via http://igg.me/at/smartglobe and share the effort on social media platforms.

About Smart Globe International
Denver-based Smart Globe International is an organic, fair trade coffee and cacao farming organization that is committed to advocating for gender equity in the workforce in Cameroon.

Please support SGI’s crowdfunding campaign here: http://igg.me/at/smartglobe
Please visit SGI’s website to learn more: http://smartglobeinternational.com/
Follow SGI on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

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Emotional Indiegogo Crowdfunding Kickoff Party

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Founders invited family and friends to celebrate the launch of the long-anticipated crowdfunding campaign. Co-founder and CEO, Patrick, spoke of the incredible gratitude he has for the support people have provided him as he crusades to provide opportunities for the people of his homeland, Cameroon, to make something of themselves. He was overwhelmed by the support of his wife Mara, Co-founder and Communication Director. Their son, parents, Denver team, and friends toasted to honor the beginning of this endeavor and Patrick’s absolute dedication to creating positive impacts in Cameroon. The ultimate goal is to improve the lives of farmers, and especially women and children, who face poverty every day, and provide an opportunity to overcome it.

Please donate & share the campaign: http://t.co/1xG2pPe1nu

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Cameroonian Women’s Role in Coffee: An interesting dynamic

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5100330078_a5a4b11a25_zTribes of the West, Southwest and Northwest provinces of Cameroonproduce most of the country’s coffee. Men own the land and the women farm it. In fact, laws forbid women from owning land. While female coffee farmers and cooperatives in Cameroon constitute only 10% of the production, it does not meanthat women have not been active in the sector. In fact, theparticipation of women in Cameroonian coffee farming started at the same time as men. In the decades to come, there is a real risk of a shortage of coffee due to climate change ……

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Climate Change Constraints on Cacao Farming: Traditional, Taboo and Science

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Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Indonesia produce more than 80% of the world’s cacao ( The Top 5 Cocoa Bean Producing Countries ) and all have experienced increasing drought and production decline. Even if limited by lack of information and financial means, the village cacao farmers have applied traditional knowledge in order to help slow down climate change and adapt to decreasing availability of water. A combination of modern scientific solutions along with traditional knowledge and techniques could be the answer for those farmers.

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