This entry is part 13 of 19 in the series Running a StartUp in a Crisis Economy

“In November 2018, we had over 60 tonnes of watermelons and 20 tonnes of cucumbers. Unfortunately for us, we lost everything. All the produce got rotten on the farm because we ran away for fear of death. The military was shooting indiscriminately at the time.” Certainly, Nde Kong couldn’t take any chances.

The gross rate of loss experienced by entrepreneurs during this crisis is no news. Shops and small businesses have shut down while the surviving ones are barely struggling to continue or relocating to other areas. Amidst the insecurity and great loss, the brave entrepreneur Nde Kong, CEO of Nifty Services, resorted in the nearly impossible – Running an online farm business.

How Nde Kong Took His Small Farm Online to Survive the Crisis
Nde Kong: Founder and CEO of Nifty Services

Nifty Services started as an IT consulting firm. They later diversified into agriculture through the creation of their first subsidiary, Nifty Farms in 2017. Business at that time was quite encouraging and they had a good turnover.

“We owned and operated a mixed farm which had animals like rabbits. We also did fish farming and poultry. In addition, we grew cucumbers and watermelons”, Nde said.

However, things took another turn in 2018 with the heat of the socio-political crisis in Bamenda.

“In April of 2018, we harvested over 25 tonnes of melons and about 10 tonnes of cucumbers. The roads were blocked and transportation to Bamenda city was so expensive.

How Nde Kong Took His Small Farm Online to Survive the Crisis
Nifty Services experienced a bountiful harvest during the crisis

We spent more than half of our income on transportation due to the ghost towns and curfews”.

Despite the challenges, they decided to expand by increasing production. However, the well-calculated move turned out to be their last move of Nifty Farms as they lost everything.

Taking the hit

“In November of 2018, we had over 60 tonnes of watermelons and 20 tonnes of cucumbers. Unfortunately for us, we lost everything.

All the produce got rotten on the farm because we ran away for fear of death. The military was shooting indiscriminately at the time”.

The loss wasn’t just at the material level but equally at the human level. Most of the workers ran away due to insecurity while some took refuge in bushes.

Nde lost everything except for his vision. The passion for his dreams made him start all over. He is currently starting another farm in Bamenda in the tech department. He does most of his business transactions online.

Nde Kong believes that there is no formula for success in a crisis period.

“I think during a crisis like this, there is no formula for success. The reason is simple: there is no certainty”, he explained.

Nevertheless, he encourages other entrepreneurs to use this time to do more research and strengthen their skills during this period.

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