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Livelihoods

Material Areas - Livelihoods Livelihoods – Supporting thriving communities
Gender and equality; access to markets;
improving incomes through better yields;
systematic measurement of the impact of initiatives; diversification of incomes.


We source from smallholders in developing countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Colombia and Brazil. They grow crops such as cocoa, coffee, cotton and cashew on smallholdings, perhaps just 1 or 2 hectares.

Due to stretched government resources, these farmers usually have limited education and healthcare, little agri-training, no access to banks and credits and their yields and incomes are far lower than they could be.

It is our best interests to help these farmers increase their yields and therefore incomes.  If we don’t, we run a number of risks such as reduced supply for our customers and farmers seeking alternative livelihoods.

Olam does not have the capacity to reach all 4.3 million smallholders directly, but nearly 1 million farmers receive some support to improve their productivity and income. This might be a form of micro-finance, and or some agri-inputs such as good quality seeds.

However, 300,000 farmers across Africa, Asia and South America are embraced by the Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC). This is our flagship sustainability framework which is based on 8 Principles that must be fulfilled by Olam teams and our partners for an initiative to achieve OLC status.  These Principles don’t just cover access to finance and better agri-inputs.  Rather, they cover the whole of the smallholder’s landscape as we believe that only by taking a holistic approach will we see communities thrive for the long-term.  As well as farmer training and finance, the Principles cover social and infrastructure investment, labour and environmental impact training, quality improvement and traceability. We are also committed to empowering women farmers.

For detail on the different challenges, our goals and progress read the Livelihoods section of the FY16 Annual Report. 

Additional resources