Sustainability Management Services
SMS implements sustainability programmes and provides products and services for rural populations in 26 countries.
We strive to be the premier provider of socially & environmentally responsible and innovative solutions to our farmers.
Farmers in SMS programmes worldwide
ECOM Sustainability projects worldwide
Sustainable raw product equivalent traded in MT
In a world where the needs of farmers continue to change and evolve, SMS is able to address a range of economic, environmental and social challenges with our portfolio of services. We aim to support, strengthen and create economic opportunities for people in agriculture by delivering services like technical assistance and financial inclusion.
SMS implements several models to reach smallholder farmers with training and certification, and to deliver value-added services with the goal of effective management, transparency and accountability to its partners.
In every origin, SMS builds long-lasting capacities and relationships for ongoing farmer training through multi-stakeholder partnerships with development agencies, NGOs, our clients and our banks.
Our Certification & Advisory services allow clients to better understand the certificates they buy and to carry out comprehensive programs customised to farmers’ needs. This transactional approach helps to build enduring relationships with rural communities.
Agro inputs distribution
SMS supports farmers’ productivity by enabling them to access affordable and high-quality agricultural inputs. Farmers benefit from the expertise of our teams, whose field access and knowledge aid in the sustainable use of a wide array of inputs.
We help build local capacities by integrating agricultural inputs into our credit system, which is adapted to farmers’ cash flow and allows for credit repayment at harvest.
The extensive use of demonstration plots creates the opportunity for training in the use of inputs and the validation of their alignments with certification programs.
The local knowledge of our SMS teams allows for the betterment of local capacities in input use, and strengthens farm productivity to the benefit of farmers and SMS alike. The cross-pollination of ideas and the collection of expertise and experiences increase the distribution network, and are rapidly expanding throughout ECOM’s origins.
SMS is leveraging its years of local experience and strong ties with local stakeholders to provide farm management services, tailored to its diverse portfolio of clients.
Our technicians and agronomists provide a complete package of farm management solutions – including weather monitoring, financial and cash flow management and soil analysis – to owners and investors willing to comply with our commitment to sustainability.
Thanks to strong synergies between our portfolio of services and ECOM’s unique network of relationships, we can help manage every step of the crop cycle, from variety selection to quality testing and shipping. Our inclusive management model enables us to tailor our services to our clients’ needs, offering flexibility over the business model. And always with the same dedication toward yielding sustainable value creation.
Working with a network of 700,000+ farmers, SMS is gathering a large number of data points to enrich ECOM’s knowledge of its farmers and help customise the best services possible.
SMS Integrity is a unique platform that acts as both an automatised data collection tool for field staff and a platform from which our clients can access key data about their suppliers. We are able to leverage digital technologies to improve our support of rural communities and to foster transparency from the field to clients’ warehouses.
Thanks to a highly-trained team of surveyors, we are able to collect a wide range of metrics in the most rural areas. A cutting-edge, automated process enable the data to be validated and analysed in near real time, turning mapping, productivity and socio-economic data points into actionable intelligence we can leverage to deliver to farmers and our clients.
This unique, seamless data collection and analysis process has so far enabled SMS to reach out to more than 350,000 coffee and cocoa farmers, thereby illuminating our clients’ supply chains.
SMS developed micro-finance programs to provide producers with inclusive, affordable and reliable financial services for the continuous improvement of its sustainability solutions. Such services allow for the availability of capital at the appropriate time, affordability of agricultural inputs, and the building of local capacities and knowledge of financial systems.
Our close-knit, local teams are able to share expertise and build strong relationships with clients, creating the foundation for adaptive credit packages and high recovery rates.
Financial inclusion services cover a wide array of products from in-kind packages of farm inputs for increased productivity to cash loans, savings accounts, and pension & insurance for local financial capacity building.
Our ability to build long-term partnerships creates strong and favourable conditions for guaranteeing transparency and adapting to the clients’ needs, thereby encouraging a sustainable customer life cycle. The dense network of access points animated by SMS also allows for the accessibility of services as well as the support and contextual knowledge required for adaptive product delivery.
SMS is able to provide high-quality planting material, on a large scale, that perfectly suits our clients’ needs and expectations.
To support ECOM farmers from the beginning of the growing process, we have partnered with leading scientific institutions to establish a unique structure to support farmers’ land recovery and provide them with affordable, high-quality seedlings.
In 2004, CIRAD and ECOM began a public-private strategic alliance, giving birth to Agritech, ECOM’s laboratory located in Nicaragua. Subsequently, further partnerships were forged, partnering Agritech to World Coffee Research, the World Cocoa Foundation, CATIE and many other national and international institutions.
With a production capacity recently estimated at 1 million embryos per year, Agritech is one of the world’s biggest labs, capable of supplying clients with productive, disease and climate-resistant varieties, preserving an outstanding cup profile. Its diversified catalog of cocoa and coffee varieties offers an unmatched choice to clients and SMS farmers. We promote a sustainable way to foster farms’ renovations and to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The SMS Code is a management tool for the diagnosis of sustainability in farms in an integrated way and to provide farmers with omprehensive technical assistance focusing on productivity increase, operative efficiency, production cost reduction and better access to markets. The SMS Code Program is the backbone of ECOM’s Sustainable Management Services strategy. Starting 10 years ago, the Program is today assisting more than 600 000 farmers worldwide and has been used in more than 300 sustainability-related projects. Its effective design goes beyond traditional certification systems, as it incorporates notions of production and quality centered around the continued betterment of farmers’ production through high value-added technical feedback.
Moreover, the SMS Code enables roasters to reach new levels of impact at the farmer-level through the portfolio of SMS services and our big data platform SMS Integrity. The latter grant roasters access to near-live field-data to monitor program progress and pilot their own supply chain impact.
SMS in action
Unlocking the potential of digital agriculture
Farmers were the original innovators in agriculture, but as the ecological footprint of humankind expands, their capacity to address the myriad challenges shrinks. Since most farmers in the world are subsistence farmers, it is vital to increase the profitability of their farms. ECOM understands that digitisation is key to realising sustainable agriculture and paving the farmers’ way toward economic liberation.
Due to the quickly increasing number of farmers joining the programme, Sustainable Management Services (SMS) created SMS Integrity (SMSi). It is a farmer-oriented digital platform with the purpose of collecting and organising farmer data to provide them with tailored services and products fulfilling their needs.
Modernising agriculture worldwide
Around 90% of the world’s 570 million farmers are smallholders who are largely dependent on human and animal labour. The majority use old-school tools that are labour intensive and inefficient, making them unable to access loans to obtain newer machinery.
It is essential to the well being of our farmers for us to innovate and prepare them for unprecedented challenges that can affect their livelihoods, as well as protecting the world's food and agriculture systems.
With this in mind, ECOM has successfully introduced a simple, effective, and mechanised approach called MICROMEC solutions. It delivers efficient equipment that enhances productivity, minimises post-harvest losses, improves ease of farming, and increases farmer income. MICROMEC products are not just machines, but also business ideas and opportunities for young entrepreneurs to improve their future.
Transforming farmer lives
VSLA empowers female farmers
ECOM Ghana's Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) initiative aims to supplement farmer incomes and has been extremely profitable in rural areas. Particularly during the prolonged cocoa season, this type of assistance is important due to accessibility. Farmers used to borrow from banks, paying high interest rates to support their farming activities.
The VSLA has benefited farmers in numerous regions and helped transform lives. Before the initiative, one farmer was struggling with petty trading and obtaining approvals on loans. Now, she has received the loan required to transform her business, pay back debt, and enroll her children in secondary school. She explains that she "encourages [her] fellow farmers and petty traders to join any well-organised VSLA group so that they, too, can share their own success stories."