Cargill invests US$113 million to expand cocoa processing sites in West Africa
05 Dec 2019 --- Cargill is investing over US$113 million to expand its cocoa processing sites in Yopougon, Ivory Coast and Tema, Ghana. A US$100 million investment targets an increased production capacity at Yopougon by 50 percent, while a US$13 million investment increases capacity at the Tema site by 20 percent. The new investments comprise the facilitation of scalable mapping and monitoring technology solutions, in addition to social welfare programs directed toward cocoa farmers and their communities.
“We aim to shift a greater share of our global grinding activities to the countries of origin, so we can support the establishment of a broader, local agri-food industry. Working directly with both governments and other key stakeholders, we are committed to economic growth, building sustainable local businesses and diversifying sources of income for cocoa farming communities,” says Lionel Soulard, Managing Director Cargill West-Africa.
In Ivory Coast, Cargill has committed an additional US$1.2 million to implement scalable mapping and monitoring technology solutions in 2020, including GPS polygon mapping and a digital Cooperative Management System (CMS) to advance traceability of the supply chain. In Ghana, where Cargill has already achieved 100 percent traceability in its supply chain from farm to factory, the company will continue to invest in GPS polygon mapping of new farms.
Data from the deployment of GPS polygon mapping and electronic bean tracking solutions inform how Cargill designs and deploys its sustainability programs, in turn helping customers deliver on consumer demands for sustainably sourced products. Cargill’s digital CMS ensures that farmers and farmer organizations are empowered to manage their operations and receive secure, timely payments for their beans through digital payment options.
At the same time, Cargill has announced it will be investing US$12.3 million over the next three years to expand sustainability and supply chain traceability programs in the two countries. This comprises a US$7.7 million investment in Ivory Coast, and US$3.4 million in Ghana toward programs that will “enhance the safety and well-being of children and families in cocoa farming areas and provide a more transparent, traceable cocoa supply chain for customers and consumers.”
To meet customer demand, a significant share of the additional capacity at Cargill’s cocoa processing plant in Yopougon, will be fully dedicated to produce the US agri-food heavyweight’s Gerkens brand of “deeply rich” brown cocoa powders.
Sustainability and social welfare action
Cargill outlines its sustainability and supply chain investments in the two countries as part of the company’s “Cargill Cocoa Promise”: a corporate commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities. Through its projects, the company hopes it will assist in creating stronger, more resilient cocoa-farming communities.
The Ivory Coast investment will include:
- Expanding of the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System with the International Cocoa Initiative, bringing the total number of cooperatives and farmers in Ivory Coast from 53 cooperatives and 46,800 farmers to 130 cooperatives and 120,000 farmers in 2022.
- Collaborating with long-term partner, CARE, to set-up Community Development Committees and develop Community Action Plans in 23 Ivorian communities. The effort will strengthen the financial inclusion and entrepreneurship skills of women in cocoa farming households and support Cargill’s implementation of the Child Labour Monitoring & Remediation System.
- Launching of a new program with Save the Children to support and lift up youth at risk of child labor.
- Expanding of Cargill’s partnership with the International Finance Corporation to launch the Coop Academy 2.0. The program will provide management, operational and digital training for cooperative leaders and female entrepreneurs to 140 partner cooperatives.
- Collaborating with new partner, Empow'Her, to strengthen cooperative support to women's groups, including work to build group leadership and help professionalize and scale up their activities.
- Constructing six new schools, which will be handed over to the Ministry of Education upon completion.
Turning to the expansion of production in Ghana, Aedo van der Weij, Managing Director of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in Ghana says, “Building on the success of the 'Good taste of Ghana' campaign when we started producing cocoa powders in the country in 2008 and selling them worldwide to our customers, the expansion of Tema is needed to meet customer demand for high value cocoa powders.”
“Alongside this, we also recognize the best way to safeguard cocoa is to improve the livelihoods and well-being of farmers and their communities. The best way to achieve sustainable business practices is by working through partnerships with governments and other stakeholders who know what works for their local communities. That way both parties can do what they do best and together achieve a real transformation,” he adds.
Cargill’s US$3.4 million investment in sustainability and social programs in Ghana will go towards expanded or new programs with partners to create a more sustainable cocoa sector. These will include:
- Implementation of Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to include 8,000 farmers and their families in 56 communities by September 2020.
- Collaboration with long-term partner, CARE, in 156 cocoa growing communities. The effort will strengthen community governance and improve dietary diversity through homestead gardens, nutrition education programming and cooking demonstrations.
- A US$800,000 investment to build six new schools and school infrastructure in key communities in Ghana.
Sustainable and traceable cocoa activities
Cargill has been active in Ivory Coast since 1997 and employs 490 people in four locations: Abidjan, Daloa, Gagnoa and San Pedro. The company’s network of buying stations, commercial, sustainability and crop research teams work closely with cocoa farmers and communities to source locally grown beans for a state-of-the art processing operation, which produces cocoa products for food and confectionery customers around the world.
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. To date, the company has around 245 employees processing cocoa products to service food and confectionary customers locally and around the world. In 2016 Cargill added a licensed buying company (LBC) – Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd – to its Ghanaian footprint. The LBC operations are said to facilitate innovative ways to trade with farmers, placing emphasis sustainability and traceability.
Cargill’s 2017/2018 Cocoa & Chocolate Sustainability Report highlights the work being done to improve the lives of farmers and their communities in five origin countries where the company sources cocoa – Brazil, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia. Recent actions have focused on using GPS mapping to demonstrate whether a farm location is linked to a deforestation hotspot. The company’s overarching ambition is to have 100 percent of its producers geo-localized (mapped) by the end of 2019.
“We are committed to 100 percent cocoa bean traceability and no further conversion of any forest land in Ghana and Ivory Coast. In our efforts to work towards greater transparency, traceability and integrity for our cocoa supply chain, we are leveraging innovative mapping and monitoring technology to help us track beans and ensure full transparency on the origins of our cocoa,” Kate Clancy, Global Sustainability Manager of Cargill tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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