Côte d’Ivoire grows 40% of the world’s cocoa, making it the top producing country globally.
ofi established a cocoa trading business in CDI in 1997, today we have the largest procurement network for sustainable cocoa in the country and are the second-largest exporter of cocoa by volume.
We are a member of the Cocoa Livelihoods Programme and the African Cocoa Initiative, and a founding member of Cocoa Action to promote productivity and develop communities. In addition to the support of communities, we also seek to protect the environment, as such we are one of the 12 signatories of the Cocoa and Forests anti-deforestation agreement coordinated by WCF.
Our extensive infrastructure includes five bean cleaning and bagging facilities and 16 warehouses. We have two state-of-the-art grinding facilities, one in San Pedro and one in Abidjan, producing cocoa liquor, butter, and cake.
Read more about our global cocoa business here, and our Cocoa Compass which maps our sustainability goals and activities here.
Côte d’Ivoire has quadrupled its crop size to 700,000 MT in the last 10 years, making it the largest cashew producing and exporting country in Africa. It is also one of the largest suppliers of Organic and Fairtrade cashew kernels in the world.
Established in 1994, our cashew business is the market leader for trading. Our supplier base exceeds 35,500 partner farmers and 200 traders, of which 31,000 are supported through sustainability programmes. We have pioneered linking farmers to a guaranteed market and improving traceability for our customers with the support of our in-house digital team.
Our infrastructure includes 3 processing facilities in Bouaké, Dimbokro and Djekanou which provide jobs to more than 4,000 workers (of whom more than 70% are women), two factories, 12 satellite units, 15 warehouses, and nine offices. Our “Sustainable Cashew Growers Programme” links farmers from over 350 villages to the factories and has been a 2013 finalist at the Guardian Sustainable Business awards in the supply chain category.
Read more about our global cashew business here, and our sustainability initiatives here.
Through our strong trading network, we buy around a third of the country’s 120,000 MT of Robusta and are the largest exporters to North Africa, Europe and Asia.
One of our desired sustainability outcomes is to help farmers and food systems prosper. Our supplier base includes approximately 13,000 partner farmers and 144 cooperatives, many of whom receive direct farmer training from ofi.
In addition, we have launched a project to rejuvenate the coffee plantations and distributed over 2,000 hectares of high-yielding coffee seedlings, 60% of which are productive. We finance post-harvest infrastructure including 120 hulling machines.
We are the first 4C-verified coffee exporter in Côte d’Ivoire - an independent verification that our supply chain is sustainable.
Our infrastructure includes a factory, seven warehouses and marketing offices, and two laboratories.
The trend for bold colors and flavors in food and beverages is rising this year. With consumers increasingly exposed to an array of global food trends, including a wide range of exotic flavors and colors, many are becoming more experimental. At the same time, confectionery products, treats, and snacks are often a moment of fun and relaxation in consumers’ daily lives, so they can be a great opportunity for experimenting with new and exciting shades.
Sydney Valla was an undergrad at Fresno State when she first discovered ofi (olam food ingredients) at a career fair. They were passing out tomato-shaped stress balls and recruiting new grads for a management trainee program. She signed-up for an interview and the rest is her-story.
What motivates you when you wake up and come into work?
My team! There are six of us who are 100% dedicated to the Spices eCommerce business and we have a combined 35+ years’ experience at ofi. Together, we work to be a solution provider for new and existing customers, put in place processes to help the business grow and overcome any challenges that are thrown our way.
Anything you’d like to add to help others succeed?
Being in numerous different positions throughout my career (supply chain, product line, sales) has made me a more well-rounded employee and allowed me to view problems from many different angles to find better solutions. I’m glad that I joined a company that offered career growth and expansion. Being a sponge during the early stages of my career allowed me to soak up lots of different information.
What has been your favorite moment at ofi so far?
When I was a product line manager, there was a large fast-food chain that featured one of our ingredients in a delicious and highly promoted LTO. It was so cool to go through the drive thru, pick up lunch, and know that one of the products that I helped to sell was in an item that was being sold across the country.
Our company purpose is ‘be the change for good food and a healthy future.’ In what way do you live our purpose through your work?
Through the eCommerce offerings, we can connect with new customers and segments that have previously been difficult to reach. This allows us to work with new customers to make educated purchasing decisions about where their product comes from, our sustainability offerings, and more. Outside of work, I sit on the Board of Directors for the Central California Food Bank which feeds over 300,000 community members in the Central Valley.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Imagine waking up to a world without your morning cup of coffee or being able to enjoy your favorite chocolate. Unthinkable, right? But climate change threatens the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers who grow these everyday ingredients.
That's where HEARTH (Health, Ecosystems, and Agriculture for Resilient, Thriving Societies) comes in. It is a collaborative public-private partnership approach to sustainable development in biodiverse landscapes initiated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Together, USAID, olam food ingredients (ofi), and partners have invested approximately $50 million across six cocoa and coffee projects worldwide, including four HEARTH partnerships. We aim to equip farmers with the right tools and training to transition to more environmentally friendly techniques without sacrificing their livelihoods. There are three key ingredients at the core of HEARTH’s approach to climate action: