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ENRICHING A FARMING

NATION


ENRICHING

GHANA’S FARMING INDUSTRY


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ECOM Ghana continues to develop the agriculture of Ghana by placing the farmer at the heart of its operations

s a leading global commodity merchant, with a specific focus on developing and fostering sustainable supply chains in over 40 agricultural markets worldwide, the responsibility to provide real value and growth right through the supply chain, to the farmers, is something that cannot be taken for granted. For ECOM Trading, it’s in the company’s very nature. “ECOM is a global player with a significant footprint here in Ghana,” says Muhammadu Muzzammil, Country Manager and Business Head Commodities & Logistics at ECOM Ghana. “What really drew me to the company was its purpose and the strategy, ECOM has a huge focus on increasing rural prosperity in the communities that we participate.”

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It is this focus and this commitment to delivering true value to those communities that has actually seen ECOM significantly grow its footprint in Ghana over the last four years, with Muzzammil pointing to a “300% growth”. ECOM’s strategy of enhancing and fostering rural prosperity was conceived by Rahul Gopinath, Regional Director, Africa. Rahul looked at the traditional operating model and sought to implement a system that would reach out to the farmers, to the producers. “Sustainability strategies have, in the past, benefited the consumer more than the producer and the farmer,” says Rahul. “We realised that we could create a model where we could provide prosperity to the community and at


Cocoa farmer

MUHAMMADU MUZZAMMIL

Country Manager and Business Head Commodities & Logistics at ECOM Ghana

Muhammadu Muzzammil is the Country Manager for ECOM Ghana. He works closely with the small holder farmers in Ghana to implement ECOM’s inclusive strategy to improve rural prosperity while meeting its sustainable supply chain obligations. He currently overseas cocoa, edible nuts and spices, logistics, sustainability and farm management services, agro input businesses and new business ventures in Ghana and Burkina. Muzzammil has previously worked with Triton Group, a frozen commodity trading and distribution company in various capacities in Africa. Muzzammil has completed his MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. He is also a gold medalist in Automobile Engineering from Anna University. w w w. e c o m t r a d i n g . c o m

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the same time provide true value and benefits to the farmer through a higher disposable income which in return provides them with a higher standard of living and can continue to farm.” Muzzammil joined ECOM as Business Head in 2016, overseeing the company’s logistics and commodities division which supplies more than 180,000 metric tonnes of cocoa and cashew direct from local farmers. Over time, his role developed and as Country manager he begun to

oversee the company’s sustainability efforts, farm management services, agro input business and even supporting the company’s edible nuts and spices business in Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau. Having worked in the food and logistics space in Africa with some of the largest frozen food distributors in West Africa, Muzzammil knows first-hand the nuances of working with local suppliers and local farmer across the African continent. RMG

Ghana Ltd

AGRICULTURE ON A SUSTAINABLE BASIS RMG Ghana Ltd is one of the major companies within the Agricultural industry of Ghana with all its products offered Tel: +233 302-776447 / 302-773458/9 to the farmer sourced from Research and Development www.rmgconcept.com | info@rmgghana.com intensive manufacturers across the globe.

Address: No. 14 Narku Ipan Rd. near Nyaho Clinic, Airport Residential Area


“Africa is full of opportunity and trust,” he says. “There is the trust that people have in you, trust from the board and management that provides you with great opportunity to go out and deliver on the promises of the organisation. You wouldn’t normally get this in a more developed economy, but because we are here, to really drive growth throughout Ghana, that trust goes a long way in enabling that.” ECOM is committed to the development and advancement of rural prosperity, but how does it actually deliver on this commitment? A number of organisations state that economic growth and corporate social responsibility are some of the highest priorities in their strategic direction, but what separates ECOM from other companies? In the first instance, ECOM defines the very nature of rural prosperity as starting with the farmers themselves and looks to understand just exactly how it can provide value and growth to the farmers. It does this in two parts, by increasing the farmer’s

RAHUL GOPINATH NAIR Regional Director - Africa

Rahul Gopinath is the Regional Director for ECOM Agro Industrial Corporation for the African Region. He works very closely with smallholder farmers in Africa providing sustainable supply chain solutions to blue chip food companies in cocoa and coffee. His business also provides base of the pyramid solutions to the populations in Africa to improve income and farm yield. Rahul is also responsible for the new business ventures for the group in the region. Rahul has previously worked with Armajaro Holdings and Olam International in multiple countries in Africa, London and Singapore. Rahul has done his General Management Program from Harvard Business School and has an MBA from the Institute of foreign Trade, India. He is an engineer by training and prior to his business experience he has worked with IBM and the Indian Space Research Organization.

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revenue and reducing the costs that the they will incur. “ECOM comes in with an approach where it’s not just acting as a trader to come and buy the farmers’ beans, it focuses on other business models that supplements the farmer’s income,” says Muzzammil. “Farmers across Ghana don’t have access to large farmlands, large yields and large revenues. They are sustenance farmers, using farming as a means of surviving each and every day. This is where ECOM works extremely hard to support them.” ECOM takes on a very “hands on” approach to working with local farmers and it does so through a number of initiatives, each designed to enrich lives. One such initiative is the Crop Doctor. The purpose of the Crop Doctor is to provide a complete service for the farmer not only providing inputs to protect the crops from diseases, but also equip them with the knowledge about farming, disease control, identification of infestations. Crop doctor also

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enables convenient payment options to ensure the farmer does timely applications without having to worry about his cash flow. Crop Doctor is able to also offer this facility to the farmers at a much cheaper price. “We minimise the supply chain by contract manufacturing these inputs from the best plants in the world and supplying directly to our farmer base,” says Muzzammil. “This really provides a major advantage for the farmers and saves close to 20-25% of their overall operating costs.” The company’s farm services don’t stop there either. ECOM’s Sustainability Management Services (SMS), works with farmers to enable them to improve their yield through best practices in Agriculture, Environmental and Social standards. SMS also works on additional livelihood programs, farmer business school trainings which equip the farmer with the knowledge to see farming as a business and also enables a year round income generation opportunity. This also extends to farm management


S U P P LY C H A I N

“Farmers across Ghana don’t have access to large farmlands, large yields and large revenues. They are sustenance farmers, using farming as a means of surviving each and every day. This is where ECOM works extremely hard to support them” Muhammadu Muzzammil, Country Manager and Business Head Commodities & Logistics at ECOM Ghana

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services target directly at older farmers and absentee farmers, ones that still require farming to survive but don’t have the same level of capabilities to run it themselves. ECOM will completely manage the farm and return all the revenue back to the farmer in a clear, transparent and accountable way, continuously improving the

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prosperity of those farmers. “The model that we use really looks at how a business can actually improve the rural prosperity and livelihood rather than rely on an NGO to do this,” says Muzzammil. “That’s what we are trying to achieve in Ghana. That’s the end goal.” As Muzzammil noted, ECOM has achieved a 300% growth


The ECOM Global board members visited Ghana to appreciate and encourage the team to achieve the purpose of increasing rural prosperity

over the last four years but what can he attribute this success to, and how is this measured? He looks along the value chain of ECOM and points to a spirit of entrepreneurship. ECOM strives to create entrepreneurs at the district level across Ghana, with micro-entrepreneurs at village and society levels.

“We’re not envisaging everyone to become an employee of ECOM,” he says. “Rather, what we are doing is creating businesspeople in every village. This is close to 6,000 micro entrepreneur network and these people are engaged in purchasing or selling and, in the future, will help the farmers through training and managed services.

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“The model that we use really looks at how a business can actually improve the rural prosperity and livelihood rather than rely on an NGO to do this. That’s what we are trying to achieve in Ghana. That’s the end goal” Muhammadu Muzzammil, Country Manager and Business Head Commodities & Logistics at ECOM Ghana

Ecom supplies farmers with agrochemical products

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Agrochemical inputs of Ecom Ghana - Crop Doctor products

“This spirit of entrepreneurship is what I feel is a huge contributor to our success as a company.” Rahul takes this one step further, identifying that any success that ECOM has achieved has not come from having the best facilities or brands. “Our greatest asset is the good people we have,” says Rahul. “If you want good people to create value for you, they need to feel that their inherent ambitions are being met and, in most cases, that means developing them as people and as employees. “What we are trying to do here is

based around finding innovative ways of solving a problem and in order to do that and to find innovation, you need to empower those employees.” As a commodity trader, ECOM places great emphasis on establishing strong relationships with a number of vendors, vendors that will help the company deliver on its promise. ECOM works with some of the largest chocolate makers in the world, such as Lindt, Nestlé, Mars, Hershey and Ferrero, but for Muzzammil it’s much more about how those companies’ sustainable goals and beliefs align with ECOM. “All these clients have their certified, sustainable, and verified programmes going all the way back to the farmers,” he says. “And obviously, the clients every year on year, they commit to their sustainability programme. Where ECOM comes in is, we act as the executor for the clients on the ground and to me, these vendor relationships have really proved key in enabling the significant growth of the company.” ECOM is currently undergoing a major increase as to the scale of its

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service delivery and its product offering. With around 140,000 farmers currently working both directly and indirectly with ECOM, and on the back of considerable growth, what does the future hold? Muzzammil points to 2020 as a key target year. “Of those 140,000, we’ve only been able to scale around 30,000 farmers on a full-time basis,” he says. “Our aspirations are to get all farmers in our farmer base, get there by 2020. Our goal has always been the same, to enrich the lives of the farmers in Ghana which in turn will allow the

country to grow and the economy to improve. And we will achieve this by increasing our product offering, our service delivery and continue our incredible work with our farmers.” In the end, as Rahul notes, ECOM will always strive to deliver on its vision of rural prosperity. “There is an adage in commodity training that says volume is vanity, profits are sanity”, says Rahul. “For ECOM, we believe that prosperity has to be a reality – there’s no way we can provide without having that for our farmers.”


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Ecom Ghana, The Ark, Plot no 2, Block C , Asokwa industrial Area, Kumasi KS 14687 +233 302 274 5445 www.ecomtrading.com/global-offices/

Profile for Supply Chain Digital

ECOM Trading - Brochure 2018  

ECOM Trading - Brochure 2018