The history and development can be categorised into the following distinct phases:
In 1989, the Kewalram Chanrai Group established Olam Nigeria Plc to set up a non-oil based export operation out of Nigeria to secure hard currency earnings to meet the foreign exchange requirements of the other Group Companies operating in Nigeria. The success of this operation resulted in Olam establishing an independent export operation and sourcing and exporting other agricultural products not related to the Group.
The Group's agribusiness was headquartered in London and operated under the name of Chanrai International Limited. The business began with the export of cashews from Nigeria and then expanded into exports of cotton, cocoa and sheanuts from Nigeria. This enabled Olam to develop its origination capabilities and expertise in the sourcing, processing and marketing of agricultural products. During this phase its business was a single-country, multiple-product operation.
 Move to Singapore
By the start of 1993, Olam recognised patterns and similarities in the sourcing, storing, transporting and marketing of these agricultural products, in the skills and capabilities required to participate in these businesses and the tools and techniques required to manage the particular risks inherent across these product markets.
Olam saw it as the opportunity to transfer these skills and competencies across geographic boundaries into other developing countries and across product boundaries to other adjacent products. Between 1993 and 1995, the business grew from a single-country operation into multiple origins, first within West Africa (including Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire,...