Olam International has started construction of its first state-of-the-art roller cotton gin in Mozambique. According to the organization, the $2 million development signifies Olam’s continued progress in increasing local cotton production and strengthening supply chain efficiencies by investing in processing operations that are close to smallholder cotton farmers.
Once completed, the new facility will be equipped with high speed rollers and modern machinery. It will have the capacity to produce around 120 metric tons of seed cotton per day and will provide new employment opportunities for up to 200 full time and seasonal workers.
At an official ceremony at the site in Beira, Sofala Province, Indranil Majumdar, Business Head Natural Fibres, Olam Mozambique, said: “Since Olam started sourcing cotton in Mozambique in 2008 we have worked closely with farmers, local government and independent partners to increase yields and improve production methods. To date, our volumes have risen fourfold and we are now able to progress existing plans to develop our third cotton gin in Mozambique. The roller gin will be the first of its kind here and will complement our saw gins to provide the additional capacity required to support future growth. This is an important milestone for Olam Mozambique and will contribute to the local economy through job creation and market growth.”
Olam’s cotton operations in Mozambique, including a supplier network of around 67,000 farmers, are part of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) programme. The BCI together with producers and retailers, aims to improve the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable cotton production. Olam has been working with the BCI since 2012 in Mozambique to open more than 400 farmer field schools and train more than 10,000 farmers in jointly approved good agricultural practices to increase farmers’ incomes.
Majumdar concluded: “The revival of Mozambique’s cotton industry is still in its early stages. Olam continues to appreciate the support of IAM, the officials of the Sofala Province, our partners such as BCI and the farmer co-operatives to help create a thriving cotton industry. Our collaboration seeks to unlock mutual value in terms of market growth and social prosperity.”