The Singapore-based firm is conducting a feasibility study on farming fish in West Africa, likely in Nigeria, the continent’s most populated country, Chief Operating Officer Shekhar Anantharaman said. Olam could potentially start the venture with partner and shareholder Mitsubishi Corp., which owns fish businesses, he said.
“We believe that there’s opportunity for fish farming in Africa,” Anantharaman said in an interview in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital. “Today a lot of the fish is imported. We think there’s a lot of potential to grow it and make it far more easily available and at cheaper cost to the general population.”
The company, which operates in 25 African nations in commodities from cocoa to coffee to rice, wants to expand its farming business across the continent, Anantharaman said. That includes looking for coffee farms in East African countries including Ethiopia and Uganda. Olam also sees more opportunities for palm oil, and may expand rice output in Nigeria, and plans to increase capacity at its Ivory Coast cocoa factory by 10 percent, he said.
“Where we feel that corporate farming can work, we’re looking at investments in building large-scale corporate farms,” he said. “We have appetite for more in Africa.”