The $75m Olam Cocoa Processing (OCP) facility will produce cocoa butter, cocoa cake and nib roasted liquor and has a grind capacity of 75,000 metric tons. 450 people will work at the plant.
The facility was opened by Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara on Saturday.
Biomass from cocoa shells
Gerard Manley, managing director & global head of Olam Cocoa, said: “The inauguration today of one of the world’s most advanced cocoa plants is testament to the importance the cocoa industry attaches to Côte d’Ivoire, the largest producer of cocoa globally.”
The plant is steam generated by a boiler fed with waste biomass from cocoa shells. Seventy-two solar panels provide electricity for offices in the facility.
Olam has also jointly financed a new primary school near the San Pedro plant with Blommer Chocolate.
Olam in Côte d’Ivoire
Singapore-based Olam has been present in Côte d’Ivoire for 20 years. It already operates a primary processing station in the capital Abidjan and added a separate Abidjan cocoa plant when it acquired ADM Cocoa’s eight cocoa processing factories last year.
An Olam spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews: "All of Olam’s existing infrastructure will remain in operation, including usinage plants, processing stations and warehousing operations." They said the porposed ADM acquisition was proceeding as expected, but refused to confirm if the former ADM Abidjan plant was currently operational.
Olam’s other cocoa processing operations are in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Spain.
Olam co-founder, group managing director and CEO Sunny Verghese: “Olam has remained committed to Côte d’Ivoire over the years, significantly growing our investments in the cocoa, cashew, coffee, cotton, palm and rubber sectors. We continue to believe in the future prospects for the country and will invest and grow our business profitably and responsibly.”
Half of Olam’s cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire comes from a certified farm – Fairtrade, UTZ etc. – or has been independently verified.