ACOF is a seed company with the aim to help local farmers who are finding it hard to survive by offering them training, seeds and access to small credits in order for them to grow and access bigger areas of cultivation. Olinda Fondo's main reason for joining the forum was to promote her company and to look for for investment in order to build a large warehouse to store the seeds and other products.
Although Olinda was not nominated as the winner of the Project Incubator Award, her participation allowed her to meet people who showed interest in ACOF, among whom was the Director of Rabobank Foundation, Pierre Van Hedel. He liked what he saw and decided to put Olinda in contact with Banco Terra in Mozambique, which is a majority partner of Rabobank.
This initial introduction initiated the visit of Banco Terra representatives to view ACOF in the area of Zambézia, where they were given a tour of the farms and the warehouses full of food, not only to sell, but also to feed the farmers and their families. The bank representatives were impressed with what had already been established and especially impressed by Olinda's vision. This first visit was enough to convince the bank representatives that her project was worth the investment. For the first time ever, Olinda received financial support, which all started because of her decision to take a plane to Dakar, Senegal and attend the AgriBusiness Forum 2012.
Today, Olinda has built a large warehouse, which is the biggest one in the district and employs even more farmers. She has also managed to import some needed seeds and distribute more credit to the farmers. She has decided to collect the credit she provided only once the farmers have sold their products.
Today she is also working with groups of women to help them become more independent and stronger. Of course she is still always looking for new partners as she believes her business can grow, that it can start exporting, and she also wants to keep sharing and receiving know-how and good practices.