Improving every day for rural women

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Improving every day for rural women

Blog 9th Oct, 2020

Olam’s ambition to improve smallholder farmer livelihoods cannot be fully achieved without addressing gender equality. A fundamental human right, gender equality is also strongly linked to agricultural productivity and social and economic development. As women, we are personally as well as professionally committed to improving the lives of women every day.

Yet in many rural communities where we work, women have vastly unequal decision-making power, control over use of income, and access to education, finance, land, and inputs. Entrenched social barriers keep them from accessing productive resources and even household decisions. They are often responsible for duties, such as gathering water and laborious food preparation that can involve hours of husking, cleaning, and pounding rice or maize for it to reach the form that wealthier consumers buy off the supermarket shelves. This then limits or denies them time to engage in remunerative activities or attend training on how to improve their crop production.

Within our operating groups Olam Food Ingredients and Olam Global Agri, as well as parent company Olam International, we are engaging on these issues head-on. Our initiatives have made meaningful progress and they've revealed new challenges that must be addressed. We're constantly learning new lessons on what we can do differently, better, and/or more routinely, and applying insights from one product line to the others. By sharing our efforts across our businesses, we hope to deepen and speed the improvements we can make in the everyday lives of the women in the communities we serve.

Product Total farmers Women Women Leaders Number of female farmers trained on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Number of farmers trained on Gender and Women's rights
Cashew (Africa and Asia) 44,295 9710 62 4,424 1,984
Hazels (Turkey) 4,501 433 10 433 3,187
Superfoods (quinoa, chia, kiwicha) Peru 2,106 426 5 426 0
Coffee (South America, Africa and Asia) 61,600 9,966 84 5,516 18,703
Cocoa (South America, Africa, Asia) 284,248 46,939 1,218 37,816 120,526
Rice (Africa and Asia) 30,107 7,349 1,032 7,349 4,341

Author

Burcu Turkay Global Sustainability Manager, Olam Nuts, Olam Food Ingredients (Turkey)
Narawadee Modenuch Research and Sustainability Analyst, Olam Rice, Olam Global Agri (Thailand)
Brigitte Mugiraneza Human Rights and Inclusion Lead, Olam International (Côte d’Ivoire)

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