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Reuters reported that Cargill is developing its plant in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire to increase capacity to 50,000 tonnes, following tax incentives offered by the Ivorian government, which is trying to woo chocolate companies into processing locally instead of exporting raw cocoa.

The grinding plant required a $100 million investment to increase our capacity by 50,000 tonnes. We are going to produce more butter, cake, liquor and powder.

Harold Poelma, president of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.

West African nations, including Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria are trying to move up the value chain, away from exporting raw beans. Currently, the Netherlands holds the top spot for grinding operations globally, but with the size of their production, Côte d’Ivoire has the potential to challenge that.

The scope is quite significant, since out of the 2.2 million tonnes of beans they produced last year, they exported three-quarters of that, and only processed 25% domestically, according to Trade Minister Souleymane Diarrassouba.

Barry Callebaut increased its grinding capacity to 200,000 tonnes, and Malaysia-based Guan Chong, who has expansion plans of their own in Malaysia, also plans to open a 60,000-ton facility in a few months.

The Minister of Trade, Diarrassouba, said total grinding capacity in the country could reach more than 678,000 tonnes by 2022, up from 564,000 tonnes last year.

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