Senegalese Thione Niang steps into agtech with JeufZone Farms

By : Aïsha Moyouzame

Date : mardi, 08 février 2022 16:03

Last updated : lundi, 28 février 2022 04:28

While he seemed destined for a glittering political career in the United States, Niang decided to return home to pursue a Senegalese dream. Thione Niang was born in Kaolak, Senegal, in a family of 28.

The man who now describes himself as a political strategist and social entrepreneur arrived in the US in 2000 with just $20 in his pockets. He started building his American dream with odd jobs. He first lived a couple of years in the Bronx, working in a restaurant, before moving to Cleveland where he stepped into the political world and volunteered for Councilman Kevin Conwell’s municipal campaign in 2005. He then became deputy campaign manager for mayoral candidate Frank Jackson. Much later, he was the campaign manager of the black congresswoman Shirley Smith who wanted to become a senator. Shirley Smith introduced him to Senator Barack Obama in 2006, in Columbus. And two years later, Thione Niang became the community organizer for President Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential elections.

He was then named national co-chair of "gen44," the 44th annual American youth fundraising initiative, for the president's 2012 re-election campaign.

With this background, the Pan-Africanist decided to return to his home country in 2014 where he initiated various impactful projects. One of them is the startup JeufZone Farms, which he founded in 2015. JeufZone Farms is an agro-business platform that focuses on the production, commercialization, distribution, and conservation of local farm products using new technologies. The startup supplies its restaurants in Senegal and has a website for delivery. It also provides tools and training to young people who want to get into the business.

"It (agriculture, ed) is not a job for poor men living in villages without water or electricity […] Agriculture is noble and matters because it is the pillar of our economic independence. It is what feeds the country," he says.

JeufZone Farms has already trained more than 200 young people in many African countries and beyond. This year, the forty-year-old plans to expand his venture to Togo. Thione Niang discussed this expansion plan last February 6 with the Togolese Prime Minister Victoire Tomégah-Dogbé. Touting his solution, the entrepreneur said “the particularity (of the offer, ed) is that we can use robots or connected tractors, or sensors that allow remote control to avoid travel on large farms in the agricultural field, for example. We will evaluate to what extent this can be done in Togo.”

Aïsha Moyouzame


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