Building Business Bridges Worldwide – Published by EMRC (Summer 2008)
Established in 1989 and headquartered in Singapore, OLAM has evolved from a single country, single product trader to a leading global integrated supply chain manager of agricultural products and food ingredients. The supply chain includes sourcing, processing, packaging and shipping, marketing and distribution as well as risk management and training.
The company presently sources 14 different products and supplies to 4,000 customers in over 60 destination markets worldwide and is constantly on the rise. It is directly present in 56 countries 22 of them in Africa where it has major investments in agriculture and employs a large workforce. The products sourced and processed by OLAM include coffee, cocoa, cashew, sheanuts, sesame, rice, different kinds of beans (pulses), spices, sugar, dairy products, cotton and teak wood.
In addition to providing employment, OLAM is committed to supporting the community and protecting the environment in every country where it is present. OLAM’s expertise assists farmers and collectors to ensure a consistent supply of good quality produce to the benefit of all parties. In developing countries the company’s processing activities support technology transfer and help build local capacity, thereby generating higher foreign exchange earnings.
Sustainability initiatives are interwoven into the business model and aim at making meaningful social impact. Stable relationships are built up over time with the suppliers comprised of small holder farmers, village level buying agents and cooperatives. OLAM provides micro-financing, seed capital for local agents, practical and technical support, fair and transparent pricing and regular market updates.
It is widely acknowledged that profitable market access for developing countries is significantly reduced by agricultural subsidies and protective tariffs. In this context OLAM has become actively involved in advocacy to achieve more open and competitive global markets that honour legitimate comparative advantages of the producing countries in which it operates.