One of the leading agri-businesses, Olam International operates from seed to shelf in more than 60 countries, providing food and raw materials to over 23,000 customers worldwide. With their global rice supply chain and immense market strength, they have successfully linked their rice farms and smallholder farmers to clients in all the major rice consuming country.
A producer of renowned Mama’s Pride and Chef’s Choice Rice, Olam International has started harvest in its dry season rice farming season. For the process of harvesting, a total of 11 combined harvesters and a splitter harvest machine were deployed. “The high-tech machineries couldn’t, however, stop the farms from involving more than 600 seasonal farmers from the host communities from participating in the farming process”, Mr. Pieter Nel said.
According to the farm officers, the dry season farm comprises of 3,000 hectares, out of the total of 12,920 hectares. The dry season rice farm is expected to yield up to 4.5 tons of rice per hectare, which is more than 300% of the national yield, which sits between 1.3-1.8 tons per hectare. The high yield can be accredited to Olam International for involving some of the best farming practices, including but not limited to the increased soil standards to meet rice varieties. As Nel told, it was done following a series of laboratory tests on different soils. Other practices involved aircrafts for seedlings, spraying effective pesticides and applying quality fertilizers.
Mark Mclean, who’s appointed as the farm manager told that 1,400 hectares would be added to the 3,000 already being used. The additional land would be utilized for the forthcoming rain-fed season. Mclean also stated that over 100 rice varieties with high yields are being studied with a view to adopt them. Currently, only 4 high yielding varieties are planted, namely L34, C90, C20 and Faro 44.
Laying importance on safety and quality, Madan Singh, the Director of quality assurance informed how the company conducts relevant analysis to ensure the rice meets the nutritional value and is safe and does not use chemicals indiscriminately during production.
Abubakar Ogashuwa, the company’s Community Relations Manager, mentioned that the farms have created access roads that have been instrumental in linking the farms to six host communities surrounding them, provided them with solar power, introduced scholarship for the students, constructed classrooms with school compounds and built boreholes for each of the 6 communities.
He further mentioned how the Olam farm is in constant talks with the herders and nomads around to avoid complications arising out of their animals invading the farms.
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