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Cargill invests $113m in Ivory Coast, Ghana

Cargill invests $113m in Ivory Coast, Ghana
Company expanding cocoa processing sites, plus sustainability and traceability programs.

Cargill is investing more than $113 million to expand its cocoa processing sites in Yopougon, Ivory Coast, and Tema, Ghana. A $100 million investment will increase production capacity at Yopougon by 50%, creating 85 full-time local jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs, while a $13 million investment will increase capacity at the Tema site in Ghana by 20%.

To meet customer demand, a significant share of the additional capacity in the cocoa processing plant in Yopougon will be fully dedicated to produce Gerkens deeply rich brown cocoa powders, the company said.

At the same time, Cargill is also investing $12.3 million over the next three years to expand sustainability and supply chain traceability programs in the two countries. This is a combination of a $7.7 million investment in the Ivory Coast and $3.4 million in Ghana in 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.

Explaining the expansion of the processing plants, Lionel Soulard, managing director Cargill West-Africa, said: “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 agrifood 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.”

According to Cargill, the sustainability and supply chain investments in the two countries are taking place as part of the Cargill Cocoa Promise -- the company’s corporate commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities. These community projects will focus on creating stronger, more resilient cocoa farming communities.

The Ivory Coast investment will include:

  • Expanding the Child Labor Monitoring & Remediation System with the International Cocoa Initiative, bringing the total number of cooperatives and farmers in the Ivory Coast from 53 cooperatives and 46,800 farmers to 130 cooperatives and 120,000 farmers by 2022.
  • Collaborating with long-term partner CARE to set up community development committees and develop community action plans in 23 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 Labor Monitoring & Remediation System.
  • Launching a new program with Save the Children to support and lift up youth at risk of child labor.
  • Expanding the partnership with the International Finance Corp. to launch the Coop Academy 2.0. The program will provide management, operational and digital training for cooperative leaders and female entrepreneurs for 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 that, upon completion, will be handed over to the Ministry of Education.

Turning to the expansion of production in Ghana, Aedo van der Weij, managing director of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in Ghana, said, “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.”

Cargill’s $3.4 million investment in sustainability and social programs in Ghana will go toward expanded or new programs with partners to create a more sustainable cocoa sector. These will include:

  • Implementation of the Child Labor Monitoring & Remediation System 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.
  • An $800,000 investment to build six new schools and school infrastructure in key communities in Ghana.

In the Ivory Coast, Cargill has also committed an additional $1.2 million to implement scalable mapping and monitoring technology solutions in 2020, including global positioning system (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% traceability in its supply chain from farm to factory using these technologies, 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.

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