A technological milestone in agriculture, a sustainable future for planet and generations

Farming is dubbed one of the oldest professions in the world, yet it plays a critical role in our everyday life – from what we wear and use to what we eat, almost everything came from a plant or an animal. Over centuries, mankind explored many ways to modernise farming, and with today’s advancement in technology innovation, farmers can be equipped with better tools in planting and harvesting their crops. Briony Mathieson, CMO for Olam Food Ingredients, tells Food & Beverage Asia how digital technology is transforming the Asia-Pacific agricultural industry.

Marking two years since the launch of AtSource, Olam has leveraged on this sustainability insights platform for the agricultural supply chain to drive social and environmental change for farmers, communities and ecosystems. For instance, a wider sustainability programme triggered by the findings on AtSource can be found in the central province of Dak Lak in Vietnam, where the company engages and trains over 1,500 farmers on responsible farming practices, the impact of coffee production on the climate, and ideal application of farm inputs.

Through Olam’s Rainforest Alliance programme, the company has also been training coffee farmers on intercropping their farms with non-coffee trees such as pepper, durian, avocado and passion fruit, among others. To help build further resilience to unstable coffee prices, Olam further supplied 34,000 non-coffee sapling and facilitated market access for these crops by connecting the farmers with buyers.

Speaking with Food & Beverage Asia, Briony Mathieson, CMO for Olam Food Ingredients (OFI), said: “We have seen real the impact that AtSource has had on the lives of our suppliers from testimonies of farmers around the world. The platform has allowed us to invest further in our suppliers, offering training and courses to develop their skills, which have been highly appreciated and have made a quantifiable difference to the work our suppliers are doing.”

Olam’s AtSource is designed to help brands and businesses shape change on the ground and meet multiple social and environmental targets, thus increasing resilience in supply chains. By connecting businesses directly to the source of supply at each stage of the project’s journey, traceability is better ensured. With AtSource, users can access a range of data from their supply chain, including insights into how to influence sustainability elements for the better. The app provides end-to-end metrics, action plans and corresponding narratives, which can be used by businesses to meet sustainability requirements, build confidence in their brand, and ultimately transform their sustainability initiatives and supply chains.

“Digital platforms like AtSource are rapidly transforming the agricultural landscape in Asia-Pacific,” Mathieson claimed. “Our first trial of Olam Direct took place with OFI cocoa farmers in Indonesia in 2017, for example, and our rate of technological advancement in the area is always expanding. From many of our suppliers not having access to technology such as mobile phones, to being able to make use of platforms like AtSource and our supply chain apps, is an incredible step.”

The full article is published in the latest edition of FBA Dec 20/Jan 21 issue. To continue reading, click here.