company logo

Olam protects African operations against Ebola

September 15, 2014

Agribusiness giant Olam International has introduced measures to protect its staff and products in Nigeria from the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the worst recorded outbreak of the virus that has so far claimed 2,300 lives in the region.

The threat is another setback for a company that has suffered serious problems with its grains business in Ukraine, due to the country’s political crisis.Agribusiness giant Olam International has introduced measures to protect its staff and products in Nigeria from the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the worst recorded outbreak of the virus that has so far claimed 2,300 lives in the region.
The threat is another setback for a company that has suffered serious problems with its grains business in Ukraine, due to the country’s political crisis.

Currently, Olam has only small investments in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – the epicentre of the outbreak – but the company said it would have a significant impact if the virus spread to its flour milling business in Nigeria, which has recently confirmed its sixth case of Ebola.
Sunny Verghese, chief executive of Olam, said the company had a “very significant exposure in operations” in Nigeria. To protect these operations, Olam has banned travel in the three most affected countries and will authorise travel to Nigeria “only if it is absolutely required”, Verghese said. He added that the group was holding daily “crisis committee” meetings on Ebola, with further in-country sessions.

“It is a serious issue and requires to be treated very seriously,” Verghese said. As of 6 September, West Africa had reported a total of 2,300 deaths out of 4,293 cases spread across five countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that authorities are struggling to contain the outbreak and it could be many months before control is regained.
The symptoms of Ebola include flu-like illness, high fever, internal and external haemorrhage and central nervous system damage. The disease can have a 90% fatality rate, although the virus strain of the current outbreak – related to Ebola Zaire, the most lethal strain – has a mortality rate of 55%.


Related News