International auditors rate Ghana cocoa plant highly, claims Cargill
The Tema plant started operations a year ago and currently produces cocoa butter and powders for global food manufacturing use.
“AIB food safety auditors checked the company's policies, operations and the physical condition of the grounds, buildings, production and storage areas at our Tema plant, awarding 900 points out of a possible 1,000,” said Cargill’s Cocoa & Chocolate division.
A spokesperson for the company told ConfectioneryNews.com that the cocoa ingredients produced at the plant have been very well received by its customer base and that AIB recognition is widely regarded by food producers around the world.
He added that the Tema plant is currently focused on reaching full capacity, which would result in the conversion of 65,000 tonnes of cocoa beans into produce on an annual basis.
The company said that as well as employing 200 staff, the facility provides new opportunities for Ghanaian cocoa farmers through indirect employment via a network of local suppliers.
When asked whether demand is still outpacing supply of cocoa in the region and how the current record highs in cocoa prices will impact the chocolate industry, the spokesperson said that Cargill does not comment on market predictions and trends, but that it aims to ensure that crops continue to meet demand.
“We do this through initiatives such as our farmer training programmes, which pass on good practice and provide the skills and knowledge to help maximise cocoa farm yield and quality,” he said.
Cargill is one of a number of big players in the cocoa sector involved in the UTZ Certified Cocoa plan to improve the agricultural, environmental and social aspects of sourcing cocoa from West Africa.
The UTZ Certified programme, in cooperation with Solidaridad, also includes Mars, Nestle, Heinz Benelux, Cargill, Ecom and Dutch retailer Ahold, as well as a number of development and environmental organisations.
Cargill is currently the only company shipping UTZ certified cocoa, as two of the cooperatives it has been working with in the Ivory Coast were the first to achieved certification in September.
The Cargill spokesperson said that as the UTZ programme is being extended to Ghana this will ensure that sustainable farming practices will be further improved and supported in that country, resulting in formal certification for its cooperatives as well.