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Home: Friends of the Family Farm: Spotlight: Olam Spices

Olam Spices: Bringing an International Flavor to the Valley


Since its establishment in 1989, Olam International has grown from a single product exporter in Africa to a global agri-business leader with operations in 70 countries across 47 agricultural products. After the local acquisitions of DeFrancesco & Sons, Gilroy Foods and Flavors, and SK Foods, Olam Spices was established and headquartered in Fresno to become the world's leading supplier of spices and vegetable ingredients.

Today, Olam Spices operates from seed-to-shelf (seed development, planting, harvesting, processing, packaging, logistics, and marketing) for ingredients including dried onion and garlic, spices, capsicums, black pepper, tomatoes, and purees. Fresno is home to both Olam Spices' headquarters as well as its Innovation and Quality Center, built for new product development and providing technical support for customers. Additionally, Olam Spices' Agricultural Research and Seed Center is based in Hanford with processing facilities located in Firebaugh; Gilroy; Lemoore; Williams; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Fernley, Nevada. Olam Spices' portfolio also includes operations in Vietnam, India, Brazil, Peru, and Egypt.

Globally, Olam has incorporated a sustainability strategy that is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are committed to ending poverty, hunger, inequality and protecting the earth's natural resources.

"Here at Olam Spices, we are committed to and focused on promoting sustainably agricultural practices and maximizing efficiency to conserve our natural resources. Locally, we focus our efforts on water, carbon, waste, and livelihoods," explained Dave Watkins, Senior Vice President of Olam Spices' Agricultural Operations. Watkins has held various positions throughout the company and related organizations for over 30 years.

Olam Spices is also involved in supporting various colleges and organizations throughout the Valley. From helping to fund Fresno State's Jordan Agricultural Research Center, to supporting organizations such as Valley Children's Healthcare, Community Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Olam Spices believes in supporting the community that supports them.

"We have been welcomed warmly into the local community," Watkins explained. "Olam Spices came to Fresno because it's the epicenter of the world's most productive agricultural operations. In addition to California's great soils, climate and ag infrastructure, we have instant access to technology and resources crucial to our success. With operations in many developing parts of the world, we never take that for granted."

To further outreach to the local communities, Olam Spices has been a Friends of the Family Farm member of Fresno County Farm Bureau since 2015. "Olam Spices wants to be involved in the agricultural community and Farm Bureau has allowed us to accomplish that goal. Very importantly, as the burden of regulatory compliance for our farmers and our business continues to increase, FCFB does a great job in representing our interests."

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Friends of the Family Farm Spotlight Profile: Ag Today, December 2019