Cameroonian entrepreneur Pascaline Nenda produces locally-made commercial infant cereal, Blesolac a brand of baby food made from soya, wheat, fruits, milk and sugar.
It is made by boiling and roasting soya beans which are later ground into powder. Pascaline then mixes the soya powder with other cereals to make the baby meal.
She started her business five years ago to counter imported brands, which she says are generally expensive and contain preservatives.
From six months, breast milk is not enough to feed a baby. So when I would travel to my village, my husband noticed that the women in the village would roast wheat and would feed it to the children to help them grow.
“From six months, breast milk is not enough to feed a baby. So when I would travel to my village, my husband noticed that the women in the village would roast wheat and would feed it to the children to help them grow. So I had an idea to use the same wheat and make something else with it and after several trials, Blesolac was born,” Nenda said.
About 1.2 million of children in Cameroon have stunted growth and about 45 percent of child deaths are linked to under nutrition.
Pascaline works with various baby clinics in the city where she also introduces her products to mothers.
She sells about 150 kilogrammes of Blesolac a week, but says she would be able to process more if she had the right equipment and financing.
“The challenges are many because first of all there isn’t enough equipment for manufacturing. When I started selling, I was going from door to door trying to market what I was selling, which was not easy. I was packaging the product in transparent plastic bags,” she added.
Pokam Nadege’s seven-month-old baby recently started weaning and Blesolac is one of the foods in her diet.
“When I heard about Blesolac, I went and bought it and I tasted it and I also liked the smell. I gave it to the baby, and she liked it and she eats it with no problem,” said Nadege.
The product is packed in various sizes from 1 kilogram boxes to 200 grammes sachets. It has been certified by government authorities and is sold in stores across the country. A kilogram pack costs about 6 US dollars.