NIGERIA – Johnvents Industries Limited, Nigerian agribusiness firm, has commissioned its upgraded N15 billion (US$36m) cocoa processing plant in Akure, Ondo State.

The new factory is fully automated with a processing capacity of 15,000 metric tonnes of raw cocoa, crushing it into cocoa liquor, butter, cake and powder for both local and international market.

According to reports by Vanguard, the facility is set to create about 300 direct jobs and over 17,000 indirect opportunities.

Its inauguration will also enable the West African nation to fetch higher value from the cash crop.

With a cumulative cocoa volume production of only about 245, 000 tonnes, 90 per cent of Nigeria’a cocoa is exported as beans.

“Johnvents Cocoa Processing Factory will crush these cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, butter, cake, and powder, for internal consumption and export into other markets across Europe, Asia and America, thereby increasing the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

“Interestingly, the economic benefits of this factory go beyond its contributions to foreign exchange earnings.

“It will also be a big player in job creation through 300 direct jobs and over 17,000 indirect jobs for Ondo State indigenes and Nigerians across the country,” said John Alamu, the Group Managing Director of CapitalSage, the holding company of Johnvents Industries.

This will help the country further tap into the multi-billion-dollar cocoa sector, while pushing for more local consumption.

Most cocoa produced in West Africa is largely sold as a raw commodity, with the producing countries retaining only a small proportion of the global cocoa market’s value, which garnered US$12.87 billion in 2019, and is estimated to generate US$15.50 billion by 2027, manifesting a CAGR of 4.3% from 2021 to 2027, according to a report published by Allied Market Research.

As part of the investment, the company has also set up a facility to package the cocoa powder in retail into 5-gram sachet to make the product widely available locally to many.

“Majority of what we have in the market today are the 250 grams. We are coming and injecting more of the 5-gram pure cocoa powder sachet into the market,” said Alamu.

To ensure its operations are running sustainably, the new factory features a solid-fired boiler to generate steam and 33KVA electricity supply to reduce overhead costs by over 40 per cent.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leon recently welcomed its first cocoa processing unit with an annual production capacity of 4,000 metric tons of cocoa paste.

The factory is built and run by Capitol Foods, one of the country’s leading agribusiness companies.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE