NIGERIA – Olam Agri, the food, feed and fiber operating group of Olam Group Limited, has launched a new foundation under its N300 million (US$686,000) Seeds for the Future initiative with the aim to drive wheat value chain development in Nigeria.
The new foundation is set to strengthen opportunities for farmers and communities along its value chain and focus on four key social action pillars i.e., supporting farms and farmers to strengthen local wheat production; enabling wider education and skills development for young people; empowering women in farming communities; and promoting health and nutrition across the country.
Through the platform, the business will undertake research and development, innovation, education, and economic empowerment.
The initiative aims to contribute to the attainment of government’s economic development agenda in key segments of the economy, such as agriculture/food security, economic diversification, women empowerment, nutrition & health, education, and skills development.
“The launch of The Seeds for the Future Foundation strengthens our focus on improving the livelihoods of farmers, communities, women and young people, as well as the development of the agricultural sector.
“We’re supportive of the Government’s economic development agenda and we recognize that the private sector has a key role to play to collaborate to drive sustainable growth in communities,” highlighted the Olam Agri.
Olam through its subsidiary Crown Flour Mills has been spearheading initiatives aimed to ensure ample supply of wheat-based products in the market through promoting local production of the raw material and facilitating imports where needed.
Recently, the milling company received approval from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to import 500,000 mt of wheat from India.
This was supported by a US$200m financing from IFC to enable Olam Agri deliver millions of tons of staple foods to developing countries, potentially feeding over 40 million people at a time of heightened food insecurity around the world.
In the marketing year 2022/2023, Nigeria expects a total production of 110,000 metric tons of wheat, against demand of 5.8 million metric ton, forcing the West African country to turn to importation of the commodities, totalling to about 6.0 million metric tons.
Olam drives capacity building among young farmers
As part of the launch of the Seeds for the Future Foundation, Olam Agri also unveiled an educational grant for first-year students in public tertiary institutions.
Ashish Pande, Country Head for Olam Agri in Nigeria said, “Enabling wider education and skill development for young people is one key area of focus.
“The education grant will make a valuable contribution to supporting students to fulfil their potential and more broadly developing the country’s human capital.”
According to the organization, the education grants will be awarded to the best qualified applicants using a merit-based selection process that strictly adheres to the rules of fairness, transparency, fair play, and independent audit, from the application, shortlisting, all through to the finalists’ selection stages. It will be open to all the courses of study offered in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
His Excellent the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof., Yemi Osinbajo lauded Olam Agri in Nigeria for the launch of the foundation, as well as its investments in the agricultural sector.
The Vice President congratulated the company for its impact and achievements in the country over the years, including the National Productivity Order of Merit Award it received earlier in the year, which recognised Olam Agri’s rising importance to the Nigerian economy.
“Olam deserves our heartfelt commendation for giving us a reason to celebrate. The company is investing in our future through the Seeds for the Future Foundation investments in seeds that will feed our population and education that will harness the potential of our young people,” stated the Vice President.