SMEs and Ventures

TEF Success Story: Daniel Oulai ’s Multiple Solutions to Tackling the Challenges of Food Security

Across the world Food security brings a huge debate with organisations, individuals and governments taking a centre stage in the tackling the interrelated elements of: availability, access, utilisation and stability. Grainothèque founded by a young agroecology activist and, Daniel Oulai (2017, Agriculture), is one of such organizations that is driving the agenda of  food security.

As a young boy growing up in Dainé, western Côte d’Ivoire in 1995, Daniel Oulai would see trucks lined up in his community and workers offload cocoa bags at his uncle’s and also interacting with the traders he learnt about the difficulties they face “I have seen producers sweat and complain about the purchase price of the fruit of their labor, and the big loss of their crop because of the combined action of the pests. This experience made me promise to improve the work of farmers in Africa”

Now 28 years old, Daniel Oulai  is the co-founder of Ayihalo , a social innovation laboratory for young rural entrepreneurs and heads the start-up Grainothèque, a social enterprise that works to promote the genetic diversity of African food plants and the microbiological potential of the soil. Founded in October 2016, Grainothèque, supports rural farmers with access to quality farmer seeds, mobile technologies for agriculture for precision input management and improvement. of food production through an intensive integrated system. This support helps strengthen food sovereignty based on biodiversity and develops solutions to preserve varietal seeds of local food plants and integrates solutions for the natural fight against plant pests and diseases.

Daniel Oulai and his team at Grainothèque have developed several products to tackle the challenges posed by food security, these includes:

Seed bank

First Ivorian community library dedicated to agriculture. It preserves African genetic biodiversity and ensures young farmers’ access to quality peasant seeds through seed banks. The project is accompanied by documentation of endogenous knowledge and practices related to local agriculture. It is also a digital library of documentation on plant pests and diseases.

Yri Drotro

A plant diagnostic application to help farmers recognize major pests and some physiological disorders that can affect tropical crops to improve harvesting. An intelligent tool for simulation, forecasting, yield, advice and decision support for African farmers and their advisers.


The valorization of agricultural waste in vegetable charcoal to amend the deteriorating soils. Resulting from the pyrolysis of the biomass of plant waste and crop residues, our Biochar is able to absorb pathogens and protect plants from aggression. it can also catalyze and amplify the effect of traditional, mineral or organic fertilizers

Grainothèque also offers other services including:

Shared Workforce

The Grainothèque offers a unique solution to meet the crucial needs of irregular labor in farm fields. It provides farmers with a skilled workforce at a lower cost. It is a “shared employee” solution that pools the field workforce. The “shared workforce” solution the choice of simplicity and flexibility.

Shared Seeds

Grainothèque produces, barters, loans and sells healthy seeds that are documented and adapted to the climate. This is one of Grainothèque’s solutions to help smallholders adapt to climate hazards by improving their access to quality, pest-resistant, drought-resistant seeds. These seeds are documenting and distributing with integrated reproduction protocols that allows plant diversity to develop their full potential


Bio-input is a service of production, distribution and marketing of organic input. Grainothèque offers an innovative mixed solution (Biofertilizers and biopesticide) made from liquid foliar fertilizer containing macroelements (Fertilizers) and microelements (Pesticide) and humic acid (rich complete and balanced) based on local plants. This fertiliser formula helps to reduce the impact of chemical fertilizers on soil, water and the environment.

Shared equipment

To facilitate access to agricultural tools and materials is a real challenge for farmers, Grainothèque has developed a system that offers rental services of agricultural equipment


For Daniel Oulai, Grainothèque offers a wholesome solution to agriculture needs “Grainothèque illustrates our commitment to transforming African Agriculture into an inclusive sector focused on global competitiveness, creating wealth and gainful employment, and improving the quality of life of African people. This initiative also aims to bring out an African-style industrialization model with frugal tools that decompartmentalize science and make use of local know-how and skills. ”

Daniel Oulai also serves as an independent consultant in Organic Agricultural Strategy and Social Innovation for individuals, companies and international organizations, training in integrated farming techniques, permaculture, polyculture and food trades and offering technical follow-up services of plot by these specialists in order to allow these customers to receive a service of the most efficient services and strengthen their production capacity. He is a recipient of the Jeunesse Francophonie Award 35 under 35 in the category ” Public Service and has also been recently recognized as one of the 34 Young Leaders of the BSF Campus program of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières whose goal is to invent the libraries of tomorrow in the countries of French-speaking Africa. His social  commitment has been recognized by several awards, including his selection on the TEF programme in 2017, the Francophone Africa Green Entrepreneur Award with the Climate Initiative Trophy, the 2016 Cop 22 in Marrakech, Morocco, and the 100 Climate Projects Award. awarded by Mrs. Ségolène Royal, then Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. France 24 observer on organic farming issues,

Grainothèque has vision to use the power of data to revolutionize the way companies provide inputs in agriculture, thus making agriculture into an inclusive sector focused on global competitiveness, creating wealth, gainful employment for young people and producing healthy and varied food ensuring food security. In less than 2 years of operation, Daniel has built a team of 7 employees and has reached 500 small farmers who benefit directly and indirectly from the services of the Grainothèque and have now been able to obtain one of the best yields and reducing post-harvest losses, the Grainothèque solution makes the farmers more autonomous and enhances their economic performance.

In 2017, Daniel Oulai was selected on the TEF programme and this he says has given Grainothèque the all important visibility and brand recognition around the continent “The Tony Elumelu Etrepreneurship Programme has revealed us to the world and to our community. Today it is thanks to this program that we have been able to develop this reference image of the company in the agricultural ecosystem in Ivory Coast. We will not be able to forget this formidable network which continues to boost us, we have also been able to diversified our investments and are positioning ourselves in the pork sector in Côte d’Ivoire. We have just launched a program called ‘ProAgripreneur’ which aims to support 25,000 young farmers in Ivory Coast in 10 years through our integrated educational farm in western Côte d’Ivoire. This will allow us to have 25,000 new customers and increase our livestock.”

Grainothèque can be reached through the following means:

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