IVORY COAST – JB Foods Limited, a major cocoa ingredients producer with operations spanning across the globe, has broken ground for the construction of a new cocoa processing facility in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The new factory which is located in the industrial zone PK24, is slated to be ready by the fourth quarter of 2024 after an initial investment of about 60 million Euros (US$63m).

JB Foods’ expansion to the Ivory Coast began with the incorporation of JB Cocoa CI in 2019, which was majorly focusing on cocoa sourcing.

Building of the factory is a key milestone for the company as this is its first cocoa processing unit in Africa, an addition to its facilities in Malaysia and Indonesia processing 180,000 tonnes of cocoa per year.

According to JB Foods, the cocoa bean processing facility will adopt the latest technology to produce premium cocoa ingredient products — namely, cocoa mass, butter and powder, which are used to produce chocolate, chocolate confectionary as well as cocoa-related food and beverages sold by the company worldwide.

It will also incorporate customised solutions capabilities, using renewable energy and employing responsible waste management processes, in line with the group’s sustainability framework and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) roadmap.

“We recognise that as the biggest cocoa producer in the world, Ivory Coast is not only strategically positioned with the availability of raw materials, it also boosts of a robust and experienced workforce, and a developed infrastructure that facilitates efficient supply chain management,” said JB Foods CEO Tey How Keong.

The Group’s present plans to develop cocoa bean processing capabilities at source is consistent with its adaptive strategy to grow in tandem with market trends and strengthen JB Cocoa’s market position as a major cocoa ingredient processor.

“Our decision to deepen our investment in Ivory Coast and establish cocoa processing capabilities close to cocoa source is part of the Group’s direction to build capacity and momentum for sustainable growth.

“We believe that this strategic move will enhance our sustainability efforts through direct cocoa sourcing at crop origins, thus enabling greater traceability, and directly impacting the quality and value of our products and service,” Keong elaborated.

Besides strengthening its business, the new facility will be instrumental in job creation and help Ivory Coast achieve its goal of processing 100% of its cocoa production locally by 2030.

When completed, the new Abidjan’s factory is expected to incrementally expand JB Cocoa’s annual bean processing capabilities, and facilitate efficient end-to-end logistical management.

Over the last two years, JB Cocoa has been scaling up its worldwide sustainability initiatives and started activities in Ivory Coast, currently supporting about 7,000 farmers.

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