Cargill invests $120m to expand its cocoa grinding plant in Côte d’Ivoire

Cargill is investing $120m to expand its cocoa grinding plant in the Micao industrial area of ​​Yopougon. The investment means manufacturing capacity of cocoa products such as cocoa powder and cocoa powder will rise from 110,000 tonnes to 170,000 tonnes by 2022.

The expansion will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 will be completed in April 2020. Phase 2 will be completed in April 2021. Cargill is the #2 cocoa processor in Côte d’Ivoire after Barry Callebaut, which has a grinding capacity of around 200,000 tonnes. In April this year, Barry Callebaut subsidiary SACO (Société Africaine de Cacao) expanded its cocoa processing capacity by opening a processing unit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire as part of a $55m expansion plan. That plan will increase Barry Callebaut’s capacity in the country by 40% by 2022.

There are 12 major processors operating in the country, including Singaporean conglomerate Olam and  Ivory Cocoa Products (ICP). In 2018 ICP announced plans to open a new 32,000 tonne plant near Abidjan by 2019, with capacity doubling by 2021. It also plans to increase grinding capacity at its San Pedro plant from 50,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes by 2021.

In total, Côte d’Ivoire has a grinding capacity of 746,000 tonnes but ground only 580,000 tonnes of beans last season. Data from GEPEX , the cocoa exporter’s association, indicates that between October 2018 and July 2019, 455,000 tonnes of beans were processed, an 8% increase on the previous year.

Cargill first entered Côte d’Ivoire and in 2017 signed an agreement with the government to increase processing capacity. It had a turnover of CFA506.4bn ($0.85bn) in 2018. The Ivorian government is keen to increase the country’s processing capacity, setting a capacity target of 846,571 tonnes by 2022.
Trendtype also understands that some major chocolate manufacturers are looking long term into establishing manufacturing operations in Côte d’Ivoire. The export of cocoa derivatives to be manufactured into end products in countries including the US, France, Netherlands, Italy, UK and Turkey represents a loss of added value that could be retained within Côte d’Ivoire.