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Women in the OLC

The Olam Livelihood Charter is our flagship programme to improve smallholder livelihoods. It is based on 8 principles covering economic, social and environmental factors. Supporting women farmers is a key element, not only for improving their livelihoods in the production of cash crops such as cocoa and cotton, but also for improving food security and nutrition in their family and wider community.

When thinking about how we support women farmers, we have to remember cultural trends and understand that what may be an obvious target or solution is not always the case. Our goal is not that there are equal numbers of women farmers as compared to male farmers; nor that women will produce equal volumes as male farmers. We must be careful of encouraging ‘equal participation’ that only leads to more work without reward. Our aim is that women have equitable access to economic opportunities, decision-making, and education:

  • Provide equal partnership or employment opportunities for interested women
  • Ensure equal training and education for women workers and farmers
  • Ensure access to credit and inputs for women farmers and suppliers
  • Promote women’s membership and leadership in groups.
  • Support the development of women’s groups and female entrepreneurs
  • Recognize the value of household work and work on ‘husband’s’ farms

Key highlights from our 2015 Olam Livelihood Charter progress report include:

  • 67,708 women farmers (20% of our total OLC farmers and a 6% increase on 2014)
  • 1, 500 female cocoa farmers supported with high-yielding cassava varieties to improve the food security and revenue potential in cocoa communities in Western Côte d’Ivoire. This pilot activity will be scaled up to reach 10,000 women and 120 cooperatives in the coming years. [This is part of the Cocoa Livelihoods Programme, and Nestlé is a partner]
  • Also in Côte d’Ivoire, we promoted food security by training over 4,000 cotton farmers (40% women) on nutrition and crop diversification. We supported 1,000 female vegetable famers to establish vegetable gardens and improve their group management and financial literacy skills.
  • In Indonesia our Arabica coffee OLC programme is proud to have 153 female farmer group leaders, which is 12% of the total farmer leadership positions

Click here to here to see some of the case studies from our women farmers.