Cargill has announced it has completed a $100 million expansion of its cocoa processing facilities in Yopougon, Côte d’Ivoire, a move that it says adds significant volumes to its cocoa-grinding capacity.
According to Cargill, with this investment, the Yopougon facility is now the single largest cocoa-grinding plant in Africa.
The upgrades, which include infrastructure enhancements and safety improvements, has increased production capacity at the site by 50%, creating nearly 100 full-time, local jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs.
Importantly, a significant share of the plant’s additional processing capacity will supply high demand, dark brown cocoa powders.
“Consumers, especially in Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African markets, are increasingly drawn to bakery and confectionery products with the strong, chocolatey visual appeal made possible by rich, deep brown cocoa powders,” said Niels Boetje, Cocoa Managing Director for Cargill’s Cocoa & Chocolate business. “With the new technology installed at our Yopougon plant, we’re now better equipped to supply the full range of our customers’ needs, from delicate light to intensely dark Gerkens cocoa powders.”
The Yopougon expansion also supports the company’s larger vision to transform the cocoa sector, said Harold Poelma, President of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “This investment will serve as a catalyst for the establishment of a broader, local agri-food industry, as we shift a greater share of our global grinding activities to the countries of origin.”
By partnering with governments and other key stakeholders in West Africa, Poelma said Cargill aims to drive economic growth in cocoa-origin countries through the company’s cocoa-processing operations, sustainability activities and other collaborations. The Cargill Cocoa Promise, which is the company’s commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities while growing cocoa sustainably, helps support this wider goal, he said.