2018 Europe/Middle East/Africa Winner

AlemAgro Ltd - Almaty, Kazakhstan

While AlemAgro doesn’t apply produce or mix crop protection products, employees set the example when on field for demonstrations.

Every country provides unique challenges for distributors and retailers, but it’s not often companies have to help growers deal with fallout from years of nuclear testing. Along with industrial giants, mining, and soil degradation, that’s just one of the issues AlemAgro Ltd. must factor into its relationship with growers.

Based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, AlemAgro helps growers deal with decades of the unsustainable agricultural practices that remained from the days of the Soviet Union. That along with excessive use of pastures for animal feeding and deforestation contributed to the soil degradation.

In addition, the country’s mismanagement of irrigation projects and water resources makes water a daily concern. This has led to the degradation in the whole Aral Sea basin. Since the Aral Sea is right at the border of Kazakhstan, and is shrinking drastically, Kazakhstan’s water resources are dropping as well.

Despite the challenges, AlemAgro is dedicated to the environment, a concept that begins with the company’s name. “Alem” translates to “world” in English, and “Agro” is understandable in most languages.

“All those fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides we are selling, and all the customers we communicate with are our world,” says Zhadyra Igibayeva, AlemAgro’s Head of Marketing. “We want to make it better and better day by day. We are working with progressively thinking farmers because we are growing them ourselves, stating importance of high standards in crop protection management in every presentation, forcing them to think not only about money but about sustainable growth, explaining how proper actions today can assure field acknowledgment through better yield and quality.”

The challenges AlemAgro faces are in some cases unique, but the company’s keys to success incorporate some traditional approaches: curiosity, innovative thinking, a market that needs understanding, a professional team, a sincere love of country, dedication to nature, and a long-term strategic vision.

AlemAgro has been around for nearly 14 years and has representatives in all regions of the country. As a reliable crop protection supplier, its reputation allows company executives to plan dynamic development in the seeds sector as well.

“For us, environmental respect is not just clear air, soil, or water resources. We emphasize the clear thinking necessary for long-term company success,” Igibayeva says. “Today our market is oversupplied with crop protection products. Dozens of sales people visit the same customers and fight for every hectare. Many of them use price decrease as main argument, but that is not the way for a company that wants to be on top for a long time. We would say that every farmer loves his land here; this love is in every Kazakh’s blood. But he also knows how difficult growing could be here in a risky agriculture zone. So being an expert who can explain how to save money, forces, and home ground is our personal way of success.”