Lack of education and healthcare
Farmer training can be hampered as many farmers have low levels of literacy and numeracy. By investing in literacy classes, and ensuring that training sessions are very image driven, with a translator speaking the local dialect, we can gradually help farmers to understand the training advice.
In 2015, we trained 13,400 farmers on business skills to enable them to better manage their finances and plan their farm activities to provide for their income and nutritional needs throughout the year.
Lack of healthcare
Life expectancy in developing countries remains low, perhaps just 59 years for a man. This is compounded by poor nutrition, disease and an inability to treat minor ailments. This in turn impacts farm productivity – a study in Côte d’Ivoire found that during a single cabbage production cycle, farmers infected with malaria had 47% lower yields and 53% lower revenues. So, it is in everyone’s interests to invest in the health of smallholder communities.
In 2015, we constructed 5 health clinics, improved access to clean water for 15,000 farmers through the construction of boreholes and other water systems, and ran health campaigns reaching about 200,000 people across Africa with education and on some occasions screening for HIV and malaria.
In December 2015, we launched the Olam Healthy Living Campaign across Africa. In 2016, 19 initiatives across Olam’s cocoa, coffee, cotton, palm oil, packaged foods, rice and wood products businesses are expected to reach 270,000 people across Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Olam Ghana’s Healthy Living Campaign project, for example, aims to address not only HIV/AIDs and malaria, but also other infectious diseases and ‘silent killers’ such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and hepatitis that are on the rise among communities. The Healthy Living Campaign will focus on free screenings and treatment, but also counselling on lifestyle changes as a preventative method to address root causes of illness and disease, reaching approximately 200,000 people in the Sefwi Wiawso and Goaso Municipalities, as well as Prestea-Huni Valley district in the Western region and Ahafo Ano-North district in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
Next section: Traceability and knowing the landscape