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Building roots, forging relationships

Asiatic Agricultural Industries fosters close relationships with its clients to build a loyal customer base

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Training for new products held in Sri Lanka for some of Asiatic’s key Bangladeshi customers.

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Asiatic conducted a CSR project in Myanmar (Dec 2016 to May 2017) in partnership with MercyCorps, a United States NGO, to provide education and training to farmers.

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A visit by Asiatic’s Ugandan associates to its head office in Joo Koon.

By Joshua Wong

A FAMILY run agrochemical company founded and based in Singapore, Asiatic Agricultural Industries believes the key to building a strong business is cultivating close relationships across its value chain, particularly with its product distributors and with farmers who are the end users of its products. 

This belief has clearly paid off, as the company is a first-time recipient of the Enterprise 50 Award. 

Says its marketing director Andrew Chan: “The E50 Award is a recognition of the solid foundation that we have built over the years, as well as a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Asiatic team. 

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“The award is also a great encouragement to us, as it affirms that we are pursuing growth in the right direction.”

Founded in Singapore in 1972, the company has six branch offices located across South-east Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Asiatic places a strong emphasis on localisation. Liaison officers in its branch offices work closely with local distributors and farmers to identify the issues they face and how Asiatic’s products can meet their needs. 

This strong local presence enables the company to respond quickly and effectively to challenges that may arise.

An Asiatic scientist working on product development. Photo: Asiatic Agricultural Industries

“We make our customers our friends,” says Mr Chan, who adds that Asiatic highly values long-term business partnerships and connections.

Unwavering commitment to its clients is an important aspect of the company’s business. 

For instance, it continued its business in Sri Lanka even during the country’s tumultuous civil war in the 1980s, even when other foreign companies stayed away from it. Because of this steadfast commitment, Asiatic has managed to retain loyal customers in Sri Lanka for decades. 

“They realise that, through thick and thin, we’ll still be here. We don’t run away when there’s trouble,” says Mr Chan. 

“It’s not just about business; we also have to incorporate the personal touch.”

Value addition, in the form of technical support and training, plays a critical role in solidifying Asiatic’s relations with its clients. Rather than just selling products, Asiatic goes the extra mile to equip them with the knowledge to educate farmers on the correct manner and benefits of using Asiatic’s products, with the ultimate objective of yield and profit optimization for the farmers. 

Asiatic’s emphasis on localisation means that it maintains strong links with farmers that use its products, like those in Myanmar pictured here. Photo: Asiatic Agricultural Industries

Another example of Asiatic’s long-term relationship-building strategy is its business in Myanmar where the company has had a presence in since 1998. 

Due to the political situation in the country then, many companies were hesitant to do business there. But as Asiatic decided to venture bravely into Myanmar at that time, it is reaping the fruit of a strong customer base there today.

Most of all, through its dedication and commitment to product quality, Asiatic has won the trust of all its clients, as they know that they are getting quality products which contribute to increased crop yield and food security.

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