By Daniel Hunter
Olam International Limited, a leading global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, today (Friday) announced two important new additions to its supply chains in Côte d’Ivoire - an advanced mechanised cashew processing plant in Bouake and the first dairy processing plant of its kind in West Africa in Abidjan.
These investments signify Olam’s continued support for the country where it is already well recognised as a leading player in the cocoa, cashew, cotton and coffee supply chains, employing nearly 4,000 staff.
“Olam is investing in the future of Côte d’Ivoire where we see huge potential for Unlocking Mutual Value through economic and social engagement with a multitude of local stakeholders. The new processing plants significantly bolster our cashew and dairy supply chains in West Africa, delivering greater control over product quality and traceability, which are issues of vital concern to our customers. Apart from generating local employment in these plants, we are also improving the livelihoods of the farmers and their communities,” said Sunny Verghese Chief Executive Officer of Olam International.
“Olam’s roots are in West Africa where we began our business by sourcing cashew 22 years ago and we’ve been actively involved in multiple agricultural and food sectors in Côte d’Ivoire for almost two decades. So we believe it’s only appropriate to be re-investing in the country and we feel honoured to have these facilities inaugurated by our distinguished guest, President Ouattara.”
Olam is globally recognised for bringing innovative solutions and responsible practices that contribute to profitable growth in an ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner. The company has announced its intention to invest $200m in various capital projects during the next five years underlining its commitment to facilitate further prosperity in the country. The pioneering plant, at Bouake in Côte d’Ivoire, is the first amongst many such cashew processing plants planned in West Africa.
This factory will significantly enhance local cashew processing capacity so that Olam can extend the reach of its fair market price initiative by sourcing more cashews from a greater number of local farmers. Through its partnership with GIZ and the African Cashew Initiative, this farmer linkage programme will extend to approximately 30,000 farmers, improving their livelihoods by focusing on good agricultural practices. In addition, the plant will contribute immensely to direct employment generation and capacity building with a total of 2,400 workers, of whom 60% are female.
The environmental footprint of the supply chain will also be improved since the bio-waste from the nuts will be used as fuel and the carbon emissions from international transportation of raw cashew nuts greatly reduced through local processing.
Based in the Yopougon industrial area, the dairy processing plant is the first in Francophone West Africa to produce both sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk of a product quality to match the most exacting European standards. The fully mechanised facility, providing employment for over 250 staff, will act as Olam’s regional hub for the dairy business. The production capabilities are sufficient to substitute the existing imported products in order to cater for the entire demand in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the growing dairy product requirements of the region.
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