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Innovations

ECOM offer tailored services through a Sustainable Management Services (SMS) that farmers are willing to pay for.

Service Provision Business Unit

Who are they?

ECOM Sustainable Management Services (SMS), a global commodity trader, established its SMS business unit 14 years ago to manage the sustainability needs of its clients and increase the quality and quantity sourced from its global smallholder network.

About the SDM

This model provides a range of services to smallholders and charges them service fees. The model aims to become financially self-sufficient.

How it works

SMS has evolved into a dedicated service provider for smallholder farmers. Its aim is to become financially unaided by ECOM’s commercial returns via trading or processing additional volumes sourced from the farmers served by SMS.

SMS is increasingly charging smallholders for the services provided, making it possible for SMS to serve farmers that are not part of ECOM’s supply chain. Charging smallholder farmers for services has the added benefit of providing immediate feedback on the quality of services as farmers are unlikely to pay for these services if they see no real added value.

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Key Outcomes

SMS, making service delivery financially sustainable on its own rather than seeing it as a cost center, serves as a protection against internal budget cuts. Moreover, it increases SMS’s ability to attract donor funding as well as commercial finance for further expansion.

Additional Resources

Insights report 2020 front page
Service Provision as a Viable Business: Insights Report
Learn about how our partners are getting sustainable returns for their business, while empowering farmers through service delivery.
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191211 webinar closing the smallholder finance gap final version
Webinar - Closing the smallholder finance gap
IDH and The Learning Lab invite three very different organizations we have worked with to share key insights on smallholder finance. 
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Sorghum
Insights Brief 2019
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SDM Case Study: Exportadora de Café California, Mexico