The world’s top producers and distributors of agricultural products Cargill has announced a $13 million investment in the expansion of its cocoa processing site in Tema, Ghana to increase production capacity by 20%. The company has also committed $3.4 million to Ghanaian community sustainability programs and cocoa traceability efforts in Ghana.
The announcement was made by Cargill Chief Executive, David MacLennan during a dinner hosted by the U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan in his honour as part of activities marking his industrial visit to Ghana. With also the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who was the Special Guest at the dinner.
According to Cargill Chief Executive, the program was aimed at enhancing the safety and wellbeing of children and families in cocoa farming areas and provide a more transparent, traceable cocoa supply chain for customers and consumers.
Mr MacLennan’s industrial visit with a team of top executives was to afford Cargill the opportunity to deepen its relationship with the Ghanaian government and stakeholders of the cocoa industry as well as inspect and announce new investments in Ghana.
The itinerary of his visit comprised a tour of the Cargill cocoa processing site where Mr MacLennan laid the first stone to symbolize the expansion works and the Akodzo Basic School in Tema, one of the educational projects under the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company’s corporate commitment to improving the livelihoods in communities where they operate.
Commenting on this new project, Managing Director of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in Ghana, Aedo van der Weij said the company wants to meet customer demand as well as continuously work with the Ghanaian government and other key stakeholders to create economic opportunities and build sustainable local businesses.
“The $13 million investment to expand Cargill’s cocoa processing site in Tema will create many indirect jobs, from labourers to university-educated positions.
“Building on the success of the ‘Good of taste of Ghana’ when we started producing cocoa powders in the country in 2008, the expansion of Tema is needed to meet customer demand for high-value cocoa powders.
“Working directly with the Ghanaian government and other key stakeholders, we are committed to economic growth, building sustainable local businesses and diversifying sources of income for those who live here.” Aedo van der Weij remarked.
Investing in local communities, sustainability
In addition to the site investment, Cargill will invest $3.4 million over the next three years in Ghanaian community projects and supply chain traceability, with a focus on creating stronger, more resilient cocoa farming communities.
These projects are part of the Cargill Cocoa Promise: the company’s corporate commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities and would involve partnership with CARE to strengthen community governance and improve nutrition in cocoa-growing communities.
It will also involve the building of six new schools as well as the implementation of a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to include 8,000 farmers and their families
Vice President Bawumia welcomes investments
In a brief remark, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s said he is pleased to note these new initiatives by Cargill as this is in line with government’s agenda for the economy.
“This is exactly what we are looking for with our economic program; to have more private sector players expand industrialization efforts and create jobs for our youth,” Dr Bawumia said.
Building a more transparent cocoa sector
Global cocoa demand keeps growing and Cargill says it is committed to delivering secure, sustainable and innovative cocoa and chocolate products.
In Ghana, where Cargill has already achieved 100 per cent traceability in its supply chain from farm to factory using high-end technologies, the company will continue to invest in GPS polygon mapping of new farms that have recently joined the Cargill Cocoa Promise program and are delivering cocoa through its Licensed Buying Company – Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd.