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Traceability and knowing the landscape

Smallholders live in some of the most remote parts of the world where roads are nothing more than dirt tracks.


Collecting one sack of cocoa or coffee from every farmer is highly inefficient. We therefore work with farmers to help them form farmer groups or cooperatives, where they bring their crop to a central warehouse. Here the crop is weighed and stamped, ready for collection by Olam.

Under the Olam Livelihood Charter in 2015, 1.22 million tonnes of product were traceable (16% increase on 2014). Of this, 25% was externally certified (UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Organic, Cotton Made in Africa, Better Cotton Initiative and 4C).

Knowing the landscape

While our farmer training sessions and model farms, demonstration plots, and farmer field schools (1,816 in 2015) can provide general advice to the farmers on how to prune or use pesticides safely, it is not the same as being able to assess individual farms and provide guidance based on the specific age of the trees, or the quality of soil, or the amount of shade.

2015 saw a significant step change as we rolled out the Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) developed by Olam Cocoa. By GPS mapping individual farms and completing survey data, Olam Cocoa has created a data bank that can produce thousands of individual farm management plans that tell the farmer, for example, exactly how much fertiliser they need and when to apply it based on their farm landscape.

Explaining the Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) to a Nigerian cocoa farmer

This benefits the farmer by saving money; the environment by using less fertiliser and pesticides; and Olam Cocoa by helping to better forecast yields. OFIS is now being rolled out across other products, including coffee in Africa and South America, and palm in Gabon. Read more about OFIS in the Land section. Overall in 2015, of the 647,512 hectares under OLC farmers, we have managed to GPS map one third (an increase of 134% on 2014).





Next section: Crop quality and infrastructure