Revolutionising the Tunisian agriculture sector
Tijmen van de Poll is Young Expert working as Business Representative and Developer in Tunisia for TGS Agribusiness Solutions. His position at TGS is to create and develop new agricultural business initiatives, to create a ripple effect so to say.
So, why Tunisia?
TGS discovered - through market research - that Tunisian farmers and agro-producers face important losses after the harvest of their crops, in some cases reaching post-harvest losses up to 30%! Having recognized this problem, we teamed up with Dutch suppliers of innovative and sustainable solutions for the prevention of infestations, diseases, bacteria, and rottenness in harvested products. Technical solutions are provided in the form of equipment such as a UVC hood (disinfection) or MAP (Modified Atmosphere) Big Bags - in which non-chemical gases can be introduced, such as CO2 or Nitrogen. In addition, we provide solutions for the sorting of harvested crops on the basis of colour, quality and/or measure.
I am representing TGS and its Dutch partners in Tunisia in order to offer these solutions to local parties or foreign companies active in Tunisia. In my daily work, the representation translates into further market research and networking with businesses, universities, and the Ministry of Agriculture in order to introduce our equipment. Even though I have only been here for a few months, it has already positively surprised me how open the government is to provide information and how willing local Tunisian companies are to cooperate with foreign enterprises.
So far I experience Tunisians as being great networkers, which brings me to a great nexus with YEP. As sole representative for TGS in Tunisia, I needed to search for an office space. Afkar, a Local Business Incubator in Tunis, welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to work in their facilities. They are very geared towards creating value through networking. Since the YEP Bureau is looking to increase its activity in the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region, we are now looking into possibilities to organize a workshop geared towards Tunisian startups. This is such a great opportunity to connect local Tunisian companies with YEP Programmes and the Netherlands Water Partnership!
Seeing these opportunities arise and connections develop is wonderful. I thoroughly believe the Young Expert Programmes is having and will have a great impact on many different levels. To begin with, Dutch companies (including TGS and its partners) are gaining recognition in an (until recent) unknown region. In addition, this experience is providing the opportunity for YEP to organically connect with local Tunisian organizations and most importantly, the Tunisian agricultural sector is being presented with brand new solutions that can revolutionize their yield after harvest. My long-term vision and hope is to contribute to Tunisian farmers and producers to become more profitable and for food loss to be radically reduced.
Do you want to contribute to this vision? Make sure to get in touch with us through the YEP Programme Bureau, we would love to see more coöperations take place and create an even bigger ripple effect!