EBRD and EU support Jordan’s female-owned Green Fields

By Dima Hamdallah

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©️Building Markets / Photography by Do Marketing

Oil factory now exports to clients the world over

Amina Ramadna’s passion for making oil started when she roamed the markets of Amman, Jordan’s capital, looking for pure black-seed oil to boost her new-born son’s immune system. All she could find were oils that were impure and oddly coloured.

Frustrated by the lack of such a simple ingredient, she decided to learn the art of oil making herself. In 2005, she opened her own small factory, Green Fields, working by herself.  

It has now gained a reputation for the production of high quality oils, specialising in a variety of cold pressed and essential oil, sesame seed paste, organic fertilizer, gluten-free flour, flaxseed meal, Dead Sea salt, hydrosols, natural soap and Dead Sea mud.   

When the EBRD extended its Advice for Small Business (ASB) programme to Jordan, Amina’s company was the first client in the country to receive assistance to obtain Halal certification through it. This certification was very important to Amina since she wanted to export to several new countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

The ASB programme matched Amina with a suitable consultant who helped her acquire the necessary documents proving that her company abides by specific Halal rules and regulations when it comes to her ingredients’ quality and purity. Even her raw products – seedlings which will eventually be used to produce oil – had to be compliant.

Before receiving Halal certification in 2016, Green Fields was limited to exporting only to some Middle Eastern countries. But thanks to Amina’s hard work, she can now export to countries worldwide.

Now that her product is compliant, Amina can produce black-seed oils in capsule form, a product in high demand in countries of the Far East. There consumers find it more convenient to benefit from the goodness of black-seed oils by swallowing a capsule rather than mixing oils in their food. Amina hopes that the EBRD can help her by investing in new machinery to produce a variety of oils in capsule form, which requires equipment that she cannot afford.

The Green Fields factory is among hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jordan which have managed to develop their businesses with the help of the EBRD’s ASB programme, which is funded by the European Union

Amina is very happy with the support she received saying: “I hope that my children will follow in my footsteps when they are older and keep this family business running.

“I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished, especially since I don’t know many women in Jordan who have succeeded in starting their small businesses on their own, let alone expanding them to export internationally.”

Under the same programme, Amina’s factory also received expert advice on e-commerce this year. This helped her sell her products online by developing a website, allowing potential clients to reach her from countries she thought impossible for her small factory based in Jordan.

This is good for her business and also for her employees. Her team has grown to include 15 workers, five men and 10 women – two of whom are Syrian.

Malin Elander, the EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion manager, is very pleased with the success of Green Fields’ factory in expanding its market, saying: “There are thousands of women across the region who have the vision and skills to turn a good business idea into practice, but often they lack financial means. 

“The EU, together  with EBRD and four other European Finance Institutions has launched the "EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion"  to help these women obtain the required funds so they can launch their business, create jobs for themselves and others and contribute to growth in their  countries.'

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