The EBRD and its donors are funding expert help for promising agribusiness companies in Jordan and one market leader in the poultry sector in particular.
In the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, where chicken is not only the main ingredient of many traditional dishes but its meat and eggs are also the most important source of protein for millions, helping the poultry industry can boost a whole country’s economy.
According to the agricultural information platform MedAgri, poultry is one of the most successful areas of industrial meat production in the region and one of the fastest growing parts of the sector in Jordan.
In this relatively small country of six and a half million people, local industries, and in particular agribusiness, face the challenge of extreme water scarcity, with Jordan being one of the five driest countries in the world.
The other great obstacle to growth is the energy supply, given the country’s almost complete dependency on costly energy imports.
Since Jordan became a member of the EBRD two years ago, the Bank has been looking into ways to support its strategy for economic growth, which includes energy and water efficiency as well as a focus on developing the private sector and quality job creation.
One of the ways in which the Bank is engaging in the country is through a special programme, funded by the donors of the SEMED Multi Donor Account that provides international expertise to support promising agribusiness companies.
One such company is Jordan Poultry Processing and Marketing Co, part of the Hammoudeh Group. Founded in the early sixties by a forward-looking local entrepreneur named Abdul-Hadi Hammoudeh, today the Group is one of the market leaders in the country, thanks also to the dynamic management of the founder’s grandson and namesake Abdul-Hadi.
“I don’t remember a family gathering without my late grandfather and father discussing business.” said Mr Hammoudeh, who is young, knowledgeable and confident.
He studied and travelled abroad then returned to Jordan to become involved in the family business, like most of his siblings and cousins. Now he runs a company that employs over 400 people. But poultry farming comes with its own set of challenges and dilemmas.
One is how to improve production and control costs. One of the first steps is to keep both chicken and eggs healthy.
“We had problems in controlling the spread of disease and that’s when we got in contact with the EBRD,” explained Mr Hammoudeh who in the past year has been working with an international poultry specialist through the advisory programme.
Dr Hanif Nazir, of Global Poultry Consultancy, has proposed practical steps for the company and is working closely with Mr Hammoudeh’s team of vets.
“We focussed on developing skills for prevention, for example of the contagious Newcastle disease, by designing a very good vaccination programme,” remarked Dr Nazir during one of his regular visits from Pakistan to the Jordan Poultry broiler farms.
This cooperation, which focusses on all the various aspects of farming and processing, has already produced noticeable results. “This helped to keep our chickens healthy, we increased our yield and we also managed to cut overall costs,” said Mr Hammoudeh.
“This is only one of many advisory projects that the EBRD is carrying out with selected agribusinesses across the SEMED region.” said Sarra Talib, EBRD coordinator of the programme.
“We work with businesses all along the food value chain – from agricultural and livestock production to modern retailing – helping them to develop international best practice in areas such as production efficiency, health and safety, marketing and branding, and corporate governance. The ultimate goal is for the companies we work with to be able to use the knowhow they gain through the project to attract investment and sustain their growth.”