This entrepreneur is helping the agriculture and gardening sector in Kasserine to bloom
In the middle of the countryside, just ten kilometres from the city of Kasserine, Ikbel Dalhoumi is busy out in the fields supervising his employees. One team is preparing land for planting fruit trees while another is installing a fence.
“The idea of starting a company that provides agricultural and gardening services was on my mind for a few years,” Ikbel reveals. “The experience I gained while working in a garden center and my network of farmers, entrepreneurs and local government convinced me there was a demand for these services.”
With its rich soil and abundance of water resources, Kasserine offers numerous agricultural investment opportunities and is Tunisia’s primary region for the production of apples, pistachios, prickly pears and tomatoes. More and more farmers in the area are launching agricultural projects and cultivating fruit and vegetables. Young people also want to tap into these business opportunities but often lack knowledge about farming.
Ikbel’s business idea started taking shape when he met an expert from the project Mashrou3i, implemented by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation.
“Mashrou3i support has been crucial for me,” he says. “The expert helped me to carry out all the administrative and legal steps so I could launch my business quickly and ensured I got off to a good start.”
Mashrou3i provided Ikbel with deep-dive business coaching and tailored support. After identifying the company’s management weaknesses, the agripreneur received a group coaching workshop on tax proceedings and a training in communication and marketing. To strengthen the workforce, Mashrou3i also trained Ikbel’s employees in the creation and management of green spaces.
“Now I have a clear marketing strategy and am gaining a large majority of my clients through social media,” Ikbel says confidently. “The workforce training provided by Mashrou3i has also enabled me to expand my service offering. This has brought new clients in Kasserine and other regions of Tunisia, like Douz where we recently completed a new green space for leisure.”
Alongside the preparation of land for farming and the creation of green public spaces, Ibkel’s business offers services in garden design and development, tree cutting and maintenance and the installation of irrigation systems. The agripreneur has also recently established a workshop in Feriana to produce reinforcement structures for fencing fields, which has expanded his customer base, especially in the regions of Nabeul, Zaghouan and Sousse.
“My business provides permanent employment to ten people,” he says proudly. “We already have many clients in Kasserine and across the country. Thanks to the support of Mashrou3i I feel optimistic about my business growth and future.”