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The work of a COO

'Armada': a description used for a large fleet of ships, is a term we use for our farms. Each farm can be seen as a ship, and those ships need to go in the same direction. Or as we have called it previously; 'seeing the same tree' or simply put, aiming at the same goal. Haron: “We have 10 farms in the group (7 in Kenya and 3 in Ethiopia). These farms need direction and it is my responsibility to give them that. I have to ensure that all the farms focus on our goal: to produce quality, and the right quantity of stems that meet the market demand. I also have to make sure that we run sustainable and profitable farms. We have about 4000 employees and any decisions that we make have to assure the sustainability of their jobs.”

My decisions together with the management team have great impact on about 4000 families. We therefore have to be conscious and careful to make the right decisions or simply do it right the first time.

Value adders of the harvesting team

Sustainability Times Two

So part of his job is about sustainability in a sense of securing everybody’s jobs. But Haron is also involved in sustainability in the ESG sense of the word. Haron: “We ensure that we have good Agricultural practices at the farm, we take care of the soil and ensure that planting material is clean. We protect the ecosystem by using recommended chemicals that don’t cause any harm to the environment. We also have good relationships with communities around our farms. We encourage the farm managers to keep in close contact with the communities. When there are events, for instance at schools or health centres, we get involved as a company.

Water project in Ethiopia

We can offer some support from the farm, but once the Marginpar Foundation is up and running, so much more will be possible. This is close to my heart, we have to help those around us by making the world around them a better place.” This foundation Haron is talking about will officially start in the beginning of 2022 and it’s all about our people. Our people are our number one priority. But making people grow and be empowered is not something we just put into practice on the workplace, it goes far beyond the gates of the farms. The Marginpar Foundation helps to make a difference in the daily lives of the communities around us.

A unique culture

Haron is not new to horticulture, but he was surprised by the work culture he found at the Marginpar farms. Haron: “I’ve worked in four other companies over the past 20 years, but the culture here is unique. It is highly professionalised. In my previous engagements, there was always a need to push for professionalism in some processes, but different institutions just don’t have that mindset or mentality of coming up with structured, clear processes. Marginpar leadership makes things clear. And I see that it works. There is a lot of self-drive at the farms. We don’t have to push people to do their work. Servant leadership makes people be self-empowered and self-managing. It is amazing to see, and it gives me so much energy to see people coming to work happy every day, knowing exactly what they have to do.”

Harvesting team in Kenya

Dreams for the future

“I dream for Marginpar Group to be the best in the flower industry in terms of its unique, and high quality products, and for the brand to be present all over the world, both offline and online.”

Next time...

#TheMarginparRecipe is taking a Christmas break. We will be back in January with many more stories to tell!