Olam Livelihood Charter delivers US$336,000 in assistance in 2013

Olam has announced third year results for the Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC). A practical and measurable framework that focuses on creating economic prosperity, improving social welfare and safeguarding the environment, the Charter aims to generate mutual value for smallholders, as well as Olam and its customers. The OLC embraces small-scale coffee farmers who typically work on less than three hectares of land with limited access to fertiliser, seedlings, education, farmer training or credit for investment. “With consumer demand expected to grow at an average of 2 million bags of coffee per year into the foreseeable future, we see smallholder productivity as the main stumbling block towards achieving a supply balance,” says Olam’s Vice President, Coffee, Deepak Kaul in a statement. “Olam is therefore investing in coffee farming communities to help them improve productivity and yields by providing training and support, as well as educating communities on the benefits of traceability and certification programs”. The OLC is based on eight principles to achieve holistic long-term improvement: finance, improving yields, market access, quality produce, social investment, labour practices, environmental impact and traceability. They are aligned with the United Nation’s Millennium Development goals to maximise impact and drive inclusivity. Through the provision of inputs, such as fertilisers and seeds, and training in the best agricultural practices, Olam has worked with coffee smallholders to improve quality and quantity of yields. These investments ensure profitable and sustainable growth for both farmers and Olam. Olam provided US$90,837 of agriculture inputs and US$245,900 worth of training to coffee farmers in 2013. Some 62 per cent of the women coffee farmers involved in OLC received training in best agricultural practices.

In North West Cameroon where Arabica is grown, Olam has rehabilitated 11 schools (over a three year period) and provided materials benefiting 2,100 students. This education drive coincided with a long-term HIV/AIDS program involving 10 villages and 10 youth groups. Such support enables the long-term development of self-sustaining enterprises, and works against the negative effect of urbanisation on farming communities.

Olam’s Garzon Dorado Group Coffee Initiative in Colombia participated in three certification program, Rainforest Alliance, 4C and C.A.F.E., to provide traceable certified coffee. Last year these initiatives produced 1,100 tonnes of certified coffee beans, a 300 per cent increase on the previous year.

Olam manages its overall environmental footprint by reinforcing sustainable agricultural practices such as water management and working with farmers to maximise production on existing land. In North West Cameroon, Olam has partnered with the DE Foundation and the Ministry of Commerce to promote sustainable Arabica coffee. Environmental sustainability is improved through a range of measures including use of organic inputs, planting of trees and intercropping to protect soil condition, training farmers in water management techniques and helping farmers to generate new income from by-products such as cultivating mushrooms from coffee pulp.

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