Kenya ,Nita Karume
Ghana’s Cargill Inc, is aiming to expand its processing capacity in producer countries. The company, which is a leading producer and distributor of agricultural products in West Africa is taking the balance of the cocoa market as a green light for expansion.
Francesca Kleemans, Cargill’s commercial director for cocoa named Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, as the world’s number one and two producers of cocoa, respectively. Ms Kleemans pegged the more balanced market in 2017/18 on a combination of smaller crops in West Africa and more global demand, partly due to lower prices.
She further added that early indications also signal there may be a broadly balanced market in 2018/19 as well. However, she was quick to add that it is still too early to gauge main crop development.
Cargill currently grinds about 800,000 tonnes of cocoa per year. Globally, processing in producer countries is set to hit two million tonnes this year. This, according to Ms Kleemans, amounts to about 46 per cent of grinding.
According to media reports the expansion into origin countries will allow the likes of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to gain additional skills and diversify their incomes.
Cargill continues to maintain higher cocoa yields on less land. This, Kleemans says, is key to improving farmer incomes. Furthermore, tackling the illegal encroachment into forests must be halted to curb oversupply.
Cargill Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Cargill Inc, operates as a cocoa processing company at the Free Zone Enclave in Tema Industrial Area. Cargill has been sourcing cocoa from Ghana for over 40 years and in 2008 opened its state-of-the-art cocoa processing facility in Tema.
Today the company has around 400 permanent and contracted employees processing cocoa products to service food and confectionary customers locally and around the world.