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Coffee in Zambia and Tanzania

For our coffee estates in Tanzania and Zambia, Olam has initiated a slightly different model called Long-Term Sustainable Development Plans (LTSDP).

In Tanzania, Olam and the villages (represented by the Village Development Committee who are nominated by the community) develop a 3 year plan where 1 priority project is selected for each year. This creates a sense of ownership at village level, as they decide on their priorities but it are also streamlines the dialogue between Olam and our stakeholders as it fixes on a 3 year development plan.

Olam contributes each year and the villagers decide on the projects to be funded for example, the village of Liganga elected to build a house for the teacher, while Lusonga purchased school desks as can be seen in the image above. Since then, we are also building a classroom in Selekano Village and we have supported Lusonga to run a rental business (renting chairs, cutlery, plates, pans for wedding/events…) which further generates income for the village.

Also key to the success of LTSDPs is the financial (or in-kind) contribution of the community themselves so that they have ownership of village development and want to see it succeed. In Lipokela Village in Tanzania the community provided the bricks for a new dispensary with a consultation room and pharmacy, while Olam Aviv provided everything else.  We expect the dispensary to be completed by June 2016 and it will serve 3,000 people.

Lipokela dispensary under construction, Olam Aviv, Tanzania

It is worth highlighting here that despite much international focus on land tenure agreements, they can continue to be an area of considerable frustration for both communities and companies.  Some of the Lipokela villagers in Tanzania, mentioned above, were cited in a report by German NGO Misereor in July 2015, as having either sold their land to Olam which they since regretted, or having been displaced by Olam.  This is incorrect – all previous land negotiations and issues had been undertaken with the previous owner. Aviv was only used as testimony in the process (to ensure compensation was paid).  We engage on a continual basis with the villagers, some of whom are in our coffee outgrower programme and some of whom are working at the plantation.

In Zambia, when acquiring its fourth coffee estate from a previous owner, Olam subsidiary Northern Coffee Corporation (NCCL) undertook thorough due diligence and identified a village, Chimpokoso, which was using the land for firewood and collecting caterpillars. Of the 456 hectares, NCCL kept 156 hectares as a conservation area. Although access is controlled, villagers are still able to collect dead branches for firewood. We have also supported the villagers by buying improved cook stoves so that they reduce their consumption of firewood.

Next section: Protecting biodiversity