Ingredients supplier Cargill has broken ground on its first cocoa processing facility in Asia located in Gresik, in the East Java region of Indonesia.
The company said the plant would help it meet rising demand in Asia and would add approximately 70,000 metric tons (MT) of cocoa beans to its annual volume.
Jos de Loor, president, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, said: “We have seen a significant growth in demand for cocoa products amongst our customers across the region.
“This investment will enable us to support the growth of the local cocoa sector, process local Indonesian beans and provide high-quality cocoa products to serve the growing needs of our customers in Asia.”
Cargill said it will take on 200 new staff in Indonesia. Additional jobs are also planned at existing R&D application centers in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, and in the company’s commercial network.
Indonesian cocoa grindings
The Indonesian facility is expected to be operational by mid-2014. Indonesia is the third largest cocoa producing nation globally behind Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Around 190,000 MT of a total 3.9m MT of cocoa was grinded in Indonesia in 2010/11, according to the International Cocoa Organization.
This figure is forecast to rise to 285,000 MT in the 2012/13 season.
Cargill processing operations
Cargill currently grinds the largest volumes of cocoa globally, but will be the second largest once Barry Callebaut completes its acquisition of Petra Foods' ingredients division.
Its other cocoa sourcing and processing facilities are located in Western Europe, Vietnam, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Brazil and the US.
The company’s sustainability program ‘Cargill Cocoa Promise’ has been working to guard the Indonesia cocoa crop from pests and diseases, such as Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB), Black Pod and Vascular-Streak Dieback (VSD).
The company plans to train over 1,300 Indonesian smallholder cocoa farmers by 2015, teaching them techniques to boost yields and quality.
CORRECTION - This article previously stated that Cargill grinded the fifth largest volumes of cocoa globally. This was inaccurate. It is currently the largest cocoa grinder in volume terms and will be the second largest once Barry Callebaut completes its acquisition of Petra Foods' cocoa processing operations.