London – Olam Cocoa is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies to cocoa farming communities tackling COVID-19 across Central and West Africa. Farming cooperatives, hospitals and health centers are receiving equipment including face masks, surgical gloves, hand sanitizer, thermometers and hands-free washing stations, according to the company.
Vulnerable communities will also receive food parcels to help cocoa farming families struggling with the rising price of basic food staples as a result of the pandemic, the company reports. In Nigeria, where the cost of some staples has almost doubled during the crisis, Olam Cocoa has already distributed 9,600 boxes of food, each box providing enough meals to feed a family of four for three days.
The package of support includes:
- 99,500 masks for health workers and farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon
- 30,900 bottles of hand sanitiser for health workers and farmers across the four countries
- Over 1,200 hands-free washing stations in farming communities across the four countries
- Radio broadcasts on more than 30 local stations in Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon providing important public health information and advice to one million cocoa farmers in rural villages
- 1,970 posters and push notifications on WHO guidance around hygiene, social distancing and child labour prevention to increase awareness in cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire
- A continued commitment to delivering Good Agricultural Practice training to help cocoa farmers improve yields and incomes. That includes developing new training videos in Nigeria delivered via LED screens on mobile vans where it is not possible to safely visit farmers in person
Andrew Brooks, Global Head of Sustainability, Olam Cocoa, says: “In these extraordinary times, we must look after one another. Our priority is to support the people working across the global supply chain and especially cocoa farmers who may be struggling with rising food prices and limited access to healthcare and infrastructure. We will continue to collaborate with local governments, health authorities and communities to provide equipment and support where it is needed across our cocoa origins.”
Olam Cocoa is providing similar support around the world. Together with Australian-backed Market Development Facility, it is launching a COVID-19 awareness campaign in Papua New Guinea, which aims to share public health information and PPE with 82,000 farming households. While in Brazil and Indonesia, the company reports it is using its digital apps to deliver public health information to farmers.
According to the company, these initiatives build on the efforts of parent company Olam International, which has committed more than $3.5m of in-kind and financial support to the global fight against COVID-19. This ranges from sensitizing farmers in Indonesia, to providing medical equipment and essential food supplies across Asia, Africa and south America, to producing 3D printed masks for police and social workers in Europe.