Business

Olam currently sourcing 14,000 metric tonnes cocoa beans … as it marks 20th anniversary

Olam Cocoa is currently sourcing 140,000 metric tonnes of beans as against its humble beginning of 38,000 tonnes in 1999. Mr Eric Asare Botwe, Business Head of Olam Cocoa has disclosed.

He said, from sourcing cocoa beans at farm gate in 1999, Olam Cocoa had evolved into a fully integrated business, with traceability and sustainability at the core of its business.

Speaking at a ceremony held in Accra to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the company’s successful business in Ghana, Mr Botwe, said Olam had successfully built a cocoa portfolio which accounts for 25 per cent of the cocoa bean trade in the country and contributed significantly to Ghana’s position as a world leader in cocoa production.

“Twenty years down the line, Olam Cocoa is one of the biggest private Licenced Buying Company (LBC) in the country. Our journey has indeed been an innovative one and encompassed nearly every part of the cocoa supply chain, contributing significantly to Ghana’s position as a world leader in cocoa production,” Mr Botwe said.

He expressed pride in the high level of local content in the operations of Olam Cocoa disclosing that the company employs 650 direct staff and engages some 6,000 commission agents, all of whom are Ghanaians, operating in all the COCOBOD regions within about 13,000 communities across the country.

Mr Botwe said the company had been working closely with Ghana COCOBOD to ensure that the cocoa industry in Ghana continues to thrive and deliver positive results for all stakeholders – from farmers and the government to the end users of cocoa products.

Olam Cocoa sources cocoa beans from hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers across Ghana and provides long-term, year-round support to help them professionalise their operations and get the best price for their crop through its flagship sustainability initiative, the Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC). 

The OLC provides support ranging from micro financing, coaching on good agricultural practices and climate smart agriculture to supplying inputs such as fertilisers and seedlings. The company also has an impact on the wider cocoa growing community by running training on health and safety, gender inclusion and child labour awareness.

The company has specifically partnered with COCOBOD to source 30,000 tonnes of fertiliser to improve average cocoa yields from 450 to 900 kilos per hectare in order to support increased incomes for farmers.

Mr Botwe was full of praise for cocoa farmers as he pledged Olam Cocoa’s determination to scale up its commitment to improving the livelihood of farming communities by announcing a series of projects, ranging from the provision of mechanised water boreholes to the refurbishment of school classrooms for cocoa-growing communities in Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Western, Ahafo and Wester North regions.

Mr Gerard Manley, the Global Head of Olam Cocoa said, at the core of Olam’s cocoa business was the company’s high commitment to sustainability and traceability, having taken a leading role since 2004 in helping to build a global cocoa sector which provides long-term positive support for cocoa farmers, their communities and the environment in which they operate.

“A holistic approach to sustainability has always been at the heart of our operations in Ghana and we are harnessing the power of digital tools such as the Olam Farmers Information Systems to protect forests, enhance cocoa quality and improve the livelihood of cocoa growing communities,” said Mr Manley.

Recounting the footprints of Olam in Ghana over the past 25 years, Mr Amit Agrawal, Country Head of Olam Ghana disclosed that the company has contributed immensely to the country by way of investment, taxes, employment and sustainability.

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