Josmak International Ltd
Joyce Kyalema is the founder and managing director of Josmak. The company’s business is unique in the way that it uses pumpkin, a common household food, transforming and exploiting all asepcts of this natural ressource. It produces pumpkin juice, pumpkin wine and ready-to-eat roasted pumpkin seeds, as well as pumpkin powder from leaves and flowers which is used to make bread, cookies, biscuits, bagias, soup, seeds, peanut butter, and pumpkin ginger and cinnamon tea spices, among other products. The remains are also used as animal food and organic fertilizer. The company sells its products to supermarkets, traders, restaurants and hotels, and institutions such as schools and hospitals. Joyce founded Josmak in 2013 and participated in the Empretec workshop in 2014. In two years, Josmak has doubled its sales revenue in all the product lines. The workforce has grown from 3 permanent staff to 5, plus 30 part-time employees.
The company’s social and environmental concerns show that reconciling sustainability and value creation is not contradictory. Joyce says that her business is growing thanks to the social, environmental and economic value it is able to produce. Josmak uses a social entrepreneurship model that supports sustainable agricultural practices in rural areas. Partnering with several local and international organizations to maximize the social value of her business, Joyce buys pumpkins from 80 women farmers in rural areas of Uganda. The company’s organically grown produce attracts more customers. The business also benefits disadvantaged women by bringing them together in groups that collaborate to contribute produce for the company. The social enterprise model benefits the community, and the company’s philosophy is that as the business grows, the community is also transformed.
The company has plans for the future: in the short term, it intends to diversify into processing other vegetables and fruits such as carrots, tomatoes and chili sauce, and pineapples and berries, among others. In the medium term, it would like to set up a bigger pumpkin processing plant and become, in the long term, the leading supplier of pumpkin products worldwide.
Organic trade can be a driving force in making agriculture more sustainable, especially if price premiums provide incentives for farmers to engage in improved practices, notably with regard to nutrient, pest and disease management. Josmak International has thus beautifully combined the environmental, social and economic components of a sustainable business model that will be needed to resolve future challenges.