Ghoorcom : Reconnecting farmer and buyer by removing the middleman

Ghoorcom uses optimized supply chain solutions that allow buyers to buy directly from farmers, eliminating the middleman, thus allowing farmers to make more money and buyers to save money. (Photos: Am
Ghoorcom uses optimized supply chain solutions that allow buyers to buy directly from farmers, eliminating the middleman, thus allowing farmers to make more money and buyers to save money. (Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
Eliminating the middleman — who typically takes a large share of the farmer’s revenue, underpays for bulk produce, and sells it to food hubs at higher rates — between Jordanian farmers and retailers in a business-to-business model is Ghoorcom’s main goal. اضافة اعلان

This local social enterprise uses technology to apply integrated and optimized supply chain solutions using multi-payment gateways that assist farmers and retailers maximize benefit. The solutions allow farmers to receive more for their product directly from buyers, while buyers enjoy a cheaper price. 

As for the produce, it remains fresher due to the elimination of unreliable distribution methods. 

“Technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself,” said Mohammed Oqeili, the founder and chief executive officer of Ghoorcom. “To level the playing field and encourage transparency and fair trade for all parties, we needed to discover a way outside the traditional nexus and supply chain approach. Typically, a farmer’s crop passes through numerous layers of middlemen, with each layer’s price increasing without adding commensurate value,” he explained.

Oqeili carried out preliminary research, starting with market validation and research-based conceptualization prior to Ghoorcom’s launch in 2018. He enlisted the help of two additional field researchers in Jordan to answer several questions, including the production of local produce in tonnes, distribution, exports, self-sufficiency, and harvest seasons. The research also entailed international agricultural commodities such as the stock markets of corn, wheat, and legumes and how they would affect the agriculture sector in Jordan.

Through his findings, Oqeili launched the e-bidding online platform and began connecting food hubs such as restaurants, hotels, malls, and grocery stores directly to local farmers using a full-set comprehensive online solution that includes product choice, delivery, and payment.

“I had so many acquaintances who work in the agricultural field. So, I was familiar with the fact that every harvest they invest their resources, money, and time in — and suffer the physical exertions while taking care of — (that they) still wouldn’t receive satisfactory financial returns,” he said.

Oqeili’s background in finance also helped him start the initiative. “I had a career in finance, and I was interested in stock market analysis. It’s all about reading the meaning behind the numbers and how everything is supply and demand at its core.”

Ghoorcom received support from the EU through Oxfam’s regional project “MedUP!”. “They helped push the platform’s development in different phases: providing technical support, capacity building, and institutional knowledge. This all resulted in customized-for-locals, sophisticated supply chain algorithms that were developed in-house,” said Oqeili.

The app has native language support, a multi-payment gateway that includes cash, e-wallet, and bank account, and a consistent delivery system to make transactions easier for farmers.

While previously the technology gap could be seen as a struggle, the pandemic forced digitization to gain momentum in all sectors, including agriculture. Through this digital boost, Ghoorcom was able to support farmers to be independent through the lockdown — which left farmers in a lurch even though their crops were ready for harvest — as transport and markets were closed.

For the time being, Ghoorcom’s main destination markets are Amman, Zarqa, and Irbid. Approximately 200 farmers have already signed up and are active on the platform, which began with oranges and now sells seasonal produce.

Oqeili’s vision is to expand across the Middle East, for more people to believe in Ghoorcom’s capability to add value to the market and bring traceability to their supply chains. Through these goals, Ghoorcom hopes that there will be a path toward a more accessible, conscious, and sustainable food system.

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