Building a Healthier Tomorrow
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Joshua Mann
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Zhumino International FZC has its sights set on replicating the same growth achieved in the past decade by expanding its farming interests into Southeast Asia. As one of the UAE’s leading importers and distributors of fresh whole and cut fruit and vegetables, the Company supplies many of the region’s top retailers and wholesalers, as well as the hospitality industry from a well-connected series of suppliers and sourcing companies located across Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Guided by the family-orientated and varied life experiences of Company Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Syed Hafizullah, Zhumino has joined the industry elite – including Del-Monte, Dole, Unifruiti, Sumifru and many others – already capitalising on the farming opportunities available in the Philippines.
“Sourcing only the highest quality product, Zhumino has an unrivalled reputation [in the UAE] which has led to exponential growth in the Company’s very short history,” says the website. “With the expanse of tropic being vast – in the midst of different regions and cultures – we carefully choose farms producing high quality tropical fruits and vegetables.”
Responsible for the entire value chain – comprising the farming, harvesting, sorting, processing, packing and transportation of goods – Zhumino’s team of skilled professionals work quickly and diligently to minimise the time its fruits and vegetables take to reach the shelves. Supported by a new research and development (R&D) team, dedicated to reducing this time and ultimately saving long-term costs with the help of instilling the latest technologies throughout the Company’s supply chain, Zhumino is facing a new challenge; producing the volumes required to meet demand.
With an admiration for nature and enthusiasm for farming among its fully-trained growers and experienced agro-professionals brought in from other parts of the world to foster Company growth, Zhumino is now venturing into direct farming in India and the Philippines via an initial expanse of 5,490 hectares of farming land; having also recently accepted a trade agreement with Greece to bring its tomatoes to the UAE.
Fresh produce from the farm-to-shelf has been the source of many challenges for Zhumino over the years. Nevertheless, after much toil and review of its procedures – instigated by a passionate and knowledgeable CEO – the Company has embraced vertical integration, from farm gate buying, contract farming to consolidating fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the creation of a formal and reliable supply chain with effective policies and procedures. “...thus, carving a niche in the global market has been our forte,” adds the Company.
“The export-oriented opportunities in developing countries across Asia – such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand – and also South Africa have excelled in recent years due to demand. The constant economic drive coming from India to add-value to its produce and its strategic location close to the Middle East market, Zhumino was on the lookout for a location and partner to operate alongside at grass root level,” explains the Company on its website. “Our Director, Jayesh Sebastian of sister Company, Takyon International introduced us to an Indian microfinance Company, ESAF. After realising our ideas, vision, mission and needs were aligned, we signed a joint venture to support the growth of farmers in the Vattavada Panchayath region of Idukki District, India.”
With farming representing 90 percent of the community’s earnings, apt weather and good arable land, the two companies joined hands to modernise production to meet international standards and subsequently export the goods.
“Farming and growing along with passion to bring change to the conventional local practices and achieve high standards of quality for the agro-produce of India is a continuously rewarding process,” says the Company.
Spurred on by this fruitful venture, Zhumino has also capitalised on the new trade opportunities coming from Europe in the last year or so, where the Company now has a subsidiary, Zhumino Hellas, located in the Greek city of Larissa. “Zhumino Hellas bought fresh tomatoes from various cooperatives... which are then exported to the UAE,” Syed Hafizullah detailed in a press announcement last year.
The first load of fresh tomatoes, weighing 21 tonnes, arrived in the central vegetable market of Dubai in June last year – marking the first time Greek tomatoes had been exported to the UAE – and Zhumino has been increasing this amount ever since to cater for demand.
“Zhumino Hellas wants to import Greek tomatoes throughout the year. Greek producers and cooperatives have showed great interest in exporting their products to us,” said the Company.
With all of the above strategic investments in place and expansion opportunities now firmly negotiated, Zhumino hopes to spread its vision to bring a smile to the faces of its clients and the end-consumer “on first look and bite”; something that the Company is certainly achieving through its latest strategy.
“The passion for farming has been a burning desire [of ours] for a long time. Seed sowing, seeing the shoots growing... flowering and bearing fruits of blissful natural colours symbolises the Zhumino journey and where it stands today,” the Company concludes.