In response to a request from this publication for clarification, Roman Blahoski, a spokesperson for ADM, said that the Ghana plant is “currently operating.” And he added that “at present, we are not planning to close the facility.”
The processor came very close to shutting down the 30,000-tonne plant, which it opened in October 2009, but following discussions with its main supplier, the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), it decided against such a move, reported the Business and Financial Times.
Cocoa processing companies operating in the West Africa country have flagged up concerns with the Cocobod over the reduction in the supply of light crop beans, which is sold to them at a 20 per cent discount as the main raw material for their plants.
Ghana runs two cocoa seasons - the larger main crop runs from October and ends in April and the light crop season from May to September. The light crop, which accounts for roughly a fifth of the annual production, is said to be preferred by local processing companies.
The chief executive of the Cocobod told Ghana media outlet Joy Business that some 500 tonnes of the light beans have since been supplied to the ADM facility, the launch of which raised Ghana’s grinding capacity by nearly 10 per cent to 350,000 tonnes. ADM is said to have also agreed to purchase 3,000 tonnes of the main crop.
Meanwhile, Blahoski said that ADM is carefully assessing the situation in the Ivory Coast and the impact of the recent EU sanctions on its business. “We will take appropriate actions as the situation evolves,” said the spokesperson.
He stressed though that the cocoa processor’s primary concern is the safety and welfare of its employees and the people of the Ivory Coast. “We remain committed to the cocoa farming communities and families whose livelihoods depend upon cocoa.”
Last week bulk chocolate producer, Barry Callebaut, declared that it has bought and exported the cocoa beans it needs from the Ivory Coast in order to fulfill its processing needs.
Raphael Wermuth external communications manager at the Swiss headquartered group told ConfectioneryNews.com that the company’s two factories in Abidjan and San Pedro are still running. “For the time being our stock levels are sufficient,” he said “they can cover our current needs.”
But Wermuth said the company was observing the situation in the West African cocoa growing country on a daily basis.
Clarification on cocoa trade
The European Cocoa Association (ECA) told ConfectioneryNews.com today that it still has not received a response from the European Commission in relation to communication it sent earlier this month seeking clarification on the implications for the cocoa industry of the financial penalties imposed by the EU on the Ivory Coast.
EU Council Regulation 25/2011, which entered into force on 15 January 2011, is targeted at individuals and organisations in the Ivory Coast said to be jeopardising the proper outcome of the electoral process.
In the letter to the Commission, the ECA in conjunction with the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC) point out that "the lack of clarity of the Council Regulation effectively means that cocoa business is being conducted in a regulatory environment which is unclear.
The members of ECA and FCC are as a consequence exposed to certain risks as they endeavour not only to keep the economy moving forward in very difficult circumstances on the ground, but to do so with uncertainty in that they may unintentionally breach the terms of the Council Regulation."