22 Oct 2018
Jerash, Jordan
Organic Food and Agriculture

The European Journal of Business and Management had published some inferred data saying that if approximately 5% of the land used for agriculture in Jordan was intended for organic farming, it would generate JOD111 million ($156 million) and 1,700 jobs. Except any likelihood for that to happen is hampered by the absence of an official body to overlook and track that. Something Zeid Koudsi decided to do independently.

Over the last 40 years, the Koudsi family managed to build their own medium-scale farm in the city of Jerash, north of Amman. It began as a passionate attempt to experiment with growing different kinds of trees erected next to a homely ecolodge that now serves as an Airbnb for ecotourism. “It was a hobby but then business pulled me into it, from agritourism and ecotourism to applying all kinds of agricultural practices such as permaculture,” says Koudsi, Founder and farmer at Dibeen Eco Farm.

It all came into full action in 2013 with the main activities as the Airbnb, farming free-range chicken, growing seasonal fruits and vegetables, and producing olive oil. “We have another program on the farm where we invite volunteers from all over the world to come and work on the farm, and we provide accommodation and food,” Koudsi adds. Even guests staying at the Airbnb lodgings can participate in the farm’s activities from shepherding and collecting eggs to watering trees. This comes as part of Koudsi’s plan to raise awareness around organic farming

But Dibeen’s main driver is this long-term plan of being more than just a farm or a producer. “We’d like to be the Uber of farms, which means lots of marketing and preparations to incur more revenues. That earlier included forming a partnership with my neighbor where he raises chicken and I buy the eggs from him,” says Koudsi.

In 2016, the farm experienced a surge in demand for olive oil, free-range eggs and fresh organic crops, which prompted the farm to produce more. “We started to slowly get requests from Airbnb guests and extended family to whom we started delivering eggs, chicken and olive oil. We were also approached by a shop in Amman but we told them we were mainly doing this to spread awareness. So we now operate only semi-directly via delivery services,” Koudsi expounds. Many people would like to also have their own farms but can’t find the capital or ability to operate them so now Koudsi shares the organic way of growing crops.

He has been recently employing his efforts towards implementing technology into the process of being the Uber of farms. “Through collaborating with 10 farms, we manage to secure free-range eggs and honey through Facebook as well as Talabat.com, and soon enough we will be able to sell mountain forest honey and thyme,” Koudsi says.

Koudsi took the business model to other neighboring farms bringing lucrative businesses to all the parties involved. “They get the merchandise from the farms, and I worry about the distribution and the market for high-quality products,” Koudsi adds. “When I was in Dubai, I saw that the market is saturated with commercial products, unlike ours which we treat like a high-quality Apple iPhone. So Dubai is definitely on our radar as one of the cities to expand to.”

Such leaps necessitate sizeable funding, which Koudsi largely takes care of. With his team of six the Jordanian entrepreneur is eyeing more than taking over the market, through working with 20 farms by 2020.

 

Learn more about Dibeen Eco Farm through their Facebook page.

Photos: Courtesy of Dibeen Eco Farm.

Eman is an editor, and a finance and startup ecosystem journalist.Eman El-Sherbiny
How one entrepreneur is turning his business into the Uber of farms | The Switchers
Dibeen Eco Farm Organic Food & Agriculture
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