GHANA – Ghana’s Afrotropic Cocoa Processing Limited (ACPL), has commissioned a new cocoa processing factory, an investment valued at US$30 million with a capacity to process 15,000 tonnes of cocoa beans, reports Ghanaian Times.

The factory will be processing cocoa beans into cocoa nibs, cocoa liquor, deodorised cocoa butter and cocoa cake.

Speaking during the commissioning of the plant, Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen said the company will not only help Ghana meet its quest to increase her processed cocoa to 50%, but also create jobs for the youth.

“We also want to assure the management of this company that we will support you in your efforts to be able to export to other destinations.

As you are aware, we have a duty-free access to the US under the AGOA initiative and a duty-free access to the European market,” he added.

Managing Director of ACPL, Marc Nijssen said the company will continue investing in the cocoa industry to ensure growth in the sector.

Additionally Kyerematen insisted on the importance of implementing a transformative industrial agenda in the country in order to attract foreign capital into the country through appropriate policy and regulatory reforms.

He revealed that as part of its efforts to attract foreign direct investments, the government has managed to reduce the debt stock to the GDP ratio from 73% to 57% between 2017 and 2019.

He said that the government is committed in implementing key economic reform programmes and policies that will ensure sustainability of local industries and competitiveness in the global business environment.

The company was incorporated in Ghana in 2002 and established a factory in 2006 but due to challenging processing environment, the firm closed its operations in the country.

However, in 2016 production resumed under a new commercial agreement between ACPL and the Italian company Nutkao that led to a substantial investment programme and to the acquisition of Afrotropic in April 2018 with 100% of the shares purchased by Nutkao Group.

After an extensive period of refurbishment and additional investment of about US$22.78 million, Afrotropic now employs about 350 workers.

Accoding to Chief Executive Officer of the Nutkao Group, Andrea Guidi , Nutkao group currently produces raw materials for the confectionery industries and distributes its products to more than 60 countries, half of which were outside the European Union.

Ghana currently processes about 400,000 metric tonnes of cocoa or about 40% of total annual output and intends to increase local processing capacity to 50% within the next two years.