Hello to the SciGi family! My name is Zanella DONFACK and I am the CEO of Trans’agro, a Cameroonian company that transforms vegetable crops into powder.
Let’s talk about the idea behind Trans’agro: the company was initially created to reduce the post-harvest losses of market gardeners, to create employment. One of the main objectives was the valorization of local crops by transforming certain market garden crops into powder in order to increase their shelf life. The main crops concerned are celery, basil, leek, onion and parsley.
This idea came to fruition in 2019, as my team and I were finalists in the YEIC (Youth entrepreneur innovative Challenge) organized by the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) for the first time in Cameroon.
As a result of this competition we wrote a business plan that allowed us to integrate more people and to obtain a production area in order to make our activity profitable. In order to improve the raw material, we decided to exploit the crops of the artisanal producers.
To reach this profitability objective, my daily role is to manage Trans’agro in its generality between production, sales, partnerships and communication. The communication concerns particularly the brand of spices of Trans’agro: “Z-epice” through the creation of advertising posters and product posters. All of these tasks require a rigorous organization and a very solid knowledge in the scientific field, especially in chemistry.
Indeed, the process from manufacture to sale is done according to the following steps;
Harvesting – cleaning – cutting – washing – disinfection (using natural products manufactured by the company) – display – drying (in a food dehydrator in which temperatures are well controlled) – compression – packaging.
“I’ve always loved the Challenge”
Concerning my academic background, I obtained my scientific baccalaureate in 2013 at the high school of “la cité verte” in Yaounde, Cameroon. I then turned to chemistry which was my favorite subject. So I did a BTS option Analytical Chemistry where I was top of my class in 2015 at the Higher Institute of Chemistry and Management of Douala, Cameroon. I continued with a professional license in general and industrial chemistry in 2016. Scientific subjects have always interested me because I have always liked the challenge.
Nevertheless, I have experienced more complicated periods. The most difficult part of my career was my year at the beginning of my master’s degree in HSQE (Hygiene, Safety, Quality and Environment) which I did not finish due to lack of funds. Indeed, in parallel of this master, I had a student job as a cook in a restaurant from 7am to 6pm and I was teaching from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. This way of life in addition to some personal events did not allow me to finish my master.
“Depending on the objectives set, I deploy the maximum amount of energy to achieve them”
In addition to my professional activity, I am passionate about cooking, hairdressing and especially sports.
Depending on the goals set, I put as much energy as possible into achieving them and I give myself one day off a week to take care of myself. Our goals have a period of time to be achieved which then allows us to be free to do other things.
In my opinion, the low rate of women in science can be explained by the fact that some women let themselves be influenced by what society says and thinks. They don’t dare to be rebellious, and to realize their thoughts and dreams, and others are content with the routine.
My advice to the young girls reading today is to dare, to believe in themselves, to be determined and to not let anyone influence them negatively!