Business News of Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Source: Daily Guide
Olam International, one of Ghana’s largest agri-commodity companies, has completed its acquisition of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company’s worldwide cocoa business.
All former ADM employees in Ghana, including the major processing plant at Kumasi, now come under Olam Cocoa which, following the acquisition, has become a top three global processor of cocoa products as well as one of the world’s leading buyers of cocoa beans.
Amit Agrawal, Olam’s country head for Ghana, commented that “Ghana is strategically significant to the future success of Olam Cocoa. Through this acquisition, we have not only increased our farmer buying networks but we now have our first processing facility in Ghana which, thanks to the skill of the Kumasi team, produces cocoa liquor to exceptionally high standards.”
John Scott Donkoh, plant manager of the Kumasi facility, added, “Everyone here is very happy to be part of the Olam Cocoa family. We have heard about the success they have had in cocoa and we are therefore excited to be part of a team that, with the support of the authorities, will advance the processing business here in Ghana.”
Olam has pledged that it will continue to put farmer livelihoods at the heart of its sourcing efforts. This year alone, 10,500 cocoa farmers in Ghana have benefited from the Olam Livelihood charter programme, collectively receiving US$10,446,477 in short-term, interest-free micro-finance; US$588,000 in premiums on top of the government price for certified product; and 145,000 cocoa seedlings. All 10,500 farmers, including over 4,088 women, received training in good agricultural practices and 1,000 farmers have received training in business skills.
In partnership with Rainforest Alliance, Olam Cocoa has also established the world’s first verified climate-smart cocoa programme in the Bia/Juabeso regions. The programme helps farmers to mitigate and adapt to rising temperatures, in particular highlighting that cutting down forest illegally to grow more cocoa will only make the issues worse as there are fewer trees to help absorb the carbon dioxide.
Instead, farmers learn how to increase their yields through better agricultural practices. To date, the programme has also planted 286 hectares of trees to reconstitute the forest.
Kennedy Ntoso, Olam Cocoa sustainability manager in Ghana, commented that the programmes “are positively impacting 151 communities and 10,500 farmers. The adoption of sustainable farming practices has improved farmer incomes and enhanced community resilience to climate change.”
The acquisition of ADM Cocoa is just another example of how Olam is continuing to invest in Ghana. Olam began operations in 1994, supporting cashew and cocoa farmers and investing in infrastructure for the manufacture and distribution of low-cost essentials including tomato paste, biscuits and wheat flour.
Olam now has around 800 permanent staff and a further 900 seasonal staff working around the country, including at the head office in Accra and regional offices in Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and Sampa.