Oumar Barou Togola
Oumar is a driven entrepreneur born in Mali, West Africa. Having spent a large part of his childhood in Mali, Benin, Chad, Burkina Faso and Canada, Oumar developed an appreciation for the rich resources available in Africa and the need for conscious local development. As the Executive Chairman and founder of Farafena, his vision to raise awareness of nutrient-rich African foods led him to form a dynamic team, united by a like-minded desire to make a difference, and put Mali on the map as the centre of African trade.
Oumar’s background in business and strong family ties to Mali have been instrumental in establishing a systematic partnership with farmers at the grassroots level, as well as strong relationships with investors and partners in Canada.
Steve enjoyed a broad and enriching career as a Chartered Accountant in the Banking and Construction industries prior to transitioning into the healthy food space with Sun Rich Fresh Foods in 2010. While at Sun Rich, he developed a best-in class Finance team while leading organizational risk, legal, IT, HR and cross-functional lean manufacturing focused teams, in addition to executive collaboration on team strategy. This ultimately culminated in driving the divestiture of the founding shareholder in mid-2017.
Steve joined Farafena in early 2018, bringing significant business acumen, along with an entrepreneurial spirit and and unbridled passion for healthy living.
VP Value Chain
Kevin brings over 30 years of diverse experience, empowering and collaborating with teams in regions such as the Canadian Arctic, Europe, India, Africa and Australia. He offers a keen understanding of the strength of diversity in complex project delivery and the ability to collectively design practical solutions across Farafena’s international operations. Kevin has managed minor and mega projects, systematically addressing risk, quality assurance and supply chain management.
Lissa is a highly experienced Sales Executive with over 15 years in the CPG industry. Prior to joining Farafena, she spent over 6 years as VP, Grocery Division at Canterbury Coffee; prior positions include Director of Sales for Whistler Water and BC Regional Manager for Leading Brands Inc. Lissa has a passion for nutritious food and healthy eating, and believes that we are all connected so it’s important to give back and have a positive social impact. She is thrilled to be part of a venture that supports women farmers in Africa.
Senior Account Executive
Originally from Mali, Dr. Mamadou Togola has lived in Canada for more than 20 years. He holds a bachelor degree in Biochemistry, as well as a Doctorate in Chinese Medicine and Certificates of Leadership in both Diabetes Management and Chronic Pain Management. Prior to joining Farafena, Mamadou served Vancouver’s First Nations Community as a Health and Wellness Coordinator, managing health education campaigns sponsored by the Vancouver Police Department, as well as working for the Department of Health & Social Services of the Yukon Government.
As a founding member of Farafena, Mamadou has an innate ability to easily interact and establish rapport with people of diverse backgrounds. Moreover, he brings first-hand knowledge of the company’s products and the social impact that the company is having on the women farmers of Africa.
Director, New Products & Tech Services
Jessica Au-Yeung brings to Farafena over 15 years of experience in the food manufacturing and processing industry. Her previous roles and responsibilities involved product development, resource management, plant expansion, quality management and technical support to small- and medium-sized companies. As a Vancouver native, Jessica is excited to support Farafena’s vision of bringing new and exciting foods from women African farmers to market. She believes that when women support each other, wonderful things happen.
What Farafena is all about
Like most ventures, the story of Farafena begins with a thought. A thought rooted in the idea that the world is a connected community and we all have something substantial to offer to the progress of the planet. Our particular offering hails from the village of Tabakoro in Southern Mali. Generations of farmers have cultivated the soil to produce grains that have sustained the people of West Africa for millennia. It is our desire to deliver the abundance of goods from Africa to every corner of the world. We aspire to promote health and sustainability through our offering of nutritious grains and equitable exchange with farmers. We thank you for joining Farafena in our journey to elevate the well-being of the world one community at a time.