CÔTE D’IVOIRE – Multinational agribusiness company, Cargill has unveiled plans of investing US$120.5million in expanding its cocoa grinding plant in Micao, Côte d’Ivoire, reports Ecofin.
The investment will see the company increase the facility’s annual capacity from the current 110,000 to 170,000 tons. The expansion will be carried out in two phases, the first phase will be completed in April 2020 and the second in April 2021.
This initiative is part of Cargill’s strategy to increase its annual beans processing activity. Cargill is one of the leading cocoa grinding companies in the country among 12 other active firms including Barry Callebaut, BARN.S and Olam.
Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s top cocoa producer and competes with The Netherlands for as the top grinding countries by volume.
According to a Reuters report, the West African country has a total grinding capacity of 712,000 tonnes but ground only 505,000 tonnes of beans last season.
Data from the exporters’ association GEPEX indicate that Côte d’Ivoire cocoa grinders had processed 455,000 tonnes of beans since the start of the season in October last year to the end of July this year.
This represented an 8% increase from 421,000 tonnes processed during same period last season. In July alone, grinders processed 48,000 tonnes of beans, up from 42,000 tonnes in the same month of the previous season.
Côte d’Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast, reached 177,262 tonnes in the third quarter of 2018/19 season up from 171,440 tonnes a year before.
33% increase on sustainability premiums
In Ghana, Cargill has handed over sustainable premiums worth GH¢6 million (US$1.1m) to more than 19,000 certified cocoa farmers for the cocoa beans bought in 2018/2019 which is a 33% increase from the payments made in 2017/2018.
The payments were disbursed through Cargill’s Licensed Buying Company, Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Limited which enables them to directly source cocoa from farmers, reports GBN.
The sustainable premiums initiative is part of the ‘Cargill Cocoa Promise’ – the company’s commitment to enable farmers and their communities achieve better incomes and living standards and to secure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come.
To achieve this, the company integrates innovative high-tech purchasing model, built on the principal of sustainability, transparency and full traceability within the supply chain.
Mr Samuel Apana, the Sustainability Country Lead of Cargill Ghana Limited, noted that this marks the third year of the sustainable cocoa sourcing, adding that the initiative has promoted a more efficient and effective supply chain.