ABIDJAN, Nov 2 – Global commodities trader Cargill inaugurated an extension of its cocoa processing plant in Ivory Coast on Tuesday which will increase its annual grinding capacity to 160,000 tonnes from 110,000.
The company launched the extension project four years ago at its plant in the commercial capital Abidjan to take advantage of tax incentives offered by the Ivorian government, which wants more cocoa to be processed locally rather than exported as raw material.
Ivory Coast is the world’s top cocoa producer, and vies with the Netherlands for the spot of leading grinder.
"The grinding plant required a $100 million investment to increase our capacity by 50,000 tonnes," said Harold Poelma, president of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. "We are going to produce more butter, cake, liquor and powder."
Ivory Coast produces about 2.2 million tonnes of cocoa a year and processes only a quarter of this, a figure it aims to double, said Trade Minister Souleymane Diarrassouba.
The government introduced benefits in 2017 for companies which increase their grinding capacities, including offering a reduction on export taxes for semi-finished cocoa products.
Since then Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has increased its grinding capacity in Ivory Coast to 200,000 tonnes, while Malaysian company Guan Chong plans to open a processing plant with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes in several months. REUTERS