17 September 2016

Olam re-invests in cocoa farmers – Asare Botwe

olamMore than 1,000 cocoa farmers from about 500 farming communities across Ghana received a total of $1m interest-free loans from Olam Ghana Limited, a leading supply chain manager of agri-products and one of the country’s biggest cocoa buying agencies.

Mr. Eric Asare Botwe, Manager of Olam’s Cocoa Licensed Buying Company (LBC) business who made this disclosure, said, in addition, Olam is paying out Ghc 4million in premiums to cocoa farmers for the 2015/2016 season – an amount which represents a 100% increase over the total premium of GHC1.9m paid to farmers last year.

Mr. Botwe was addressing delegates at the end of Olam Ghana’s Annual Cocoa Managers’ conference in Accra.

The bulk of activities for this year’s conference took place at the Bunsu Cocoa College in the Eastern Region, bringing together more than 300 Olam Cocoa Managers from all the cocoa producing districts and regions of Ghana.

The four day conference held under the theme “Innovate & Optimize to Scale New Heights” was organized by the company as a platform to evaluate the past year’s performance, sensitize managers and strategize for the next season.

“As a company, we believe in growing responsibly by reinvesting in the people (farmers) and communities in which we operate and that was what informed the increase in premiums to GHC15 per bag and the advance of a US$1m interest-free loans to empower the farmers,” he said at the closing ceremony.

Mr. Botwe noted that Olam currently buys about 90,000 tons out of Ghana’s total produce of 850,000 tons of Cocoa every year, representing almost 13 percent of market share and thus making Olam the third largest LBC in the country.

As Mr. Botwe commended managers and farmers for their hard work during the season, he lamented about what he described as the declining fortunes of cocoa production in the Brong Ahafo Region in spite of clear sign of growth in the country’s cocoa yield, advocating urgent and immediate intervention by government and all stakeholders to reverse the trend since that region has always been a bastion of cocoa production in Ghana.

Praising Olam Ghana for its investment and support for cocoa farmers, the Deputy Minister for Water Resource, Works and Housing, Mr. Sampson Ahi called on LBCs to seriously consider the institution of a special insurance scheme for cocoa farmers to cushion them particularly against bush fires.

The Deputy Minister urged Olam Ghana to show the way in the establishment of such a farmer-based insurance scheme, which he said would restore hope to farmers who suffer losses to bush fires.

Country Head and CEO of Olam Ghana, Amit Agrawal announced that worldwide, the company was adjudged the 23rd Best Company by Fortune Magazine for its responsible business in investing in people and the communities where its operates in Africa and Asia.

He said in Ghana, Olam paid over GHS200million in total taxes to the government, aside other social investments it made in people and communities.

“Apart from our cocoa processing factory in Ghana, we are also the biggest biscuit producer in Ghana and largest tomato paste manufacturer in West Africa – this year also we are expanding our flour mill to produce 1,000 tons of flour per day in Ghana,” he said.

Mr. Agrawal assured stakeholders that it will continue to make significant investments in the various farming communities and in people in Ghana as part of its core business.



Source: Daily Guide

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