Though the Ivory Coast has been the home to a Cemoi factory for 20 years and the world’s largest cocoa producers, local Ivorians have not had much access to the final product until recent years.
Since 2013, CeMoi has been marketing bars, cocoa powder, and chocolate spread to locals and gourmet chocolate products for Ivorian professionals.
But the new Cemoi production site will fill the final link in their comprehensive chocolate making model, launching more chocolate products into the African market.
Ivorians today have “more and more access to a product, which is local product, which is sold worldwide, but which used to be forbidden,” says Minister of Commerce Jean-Louis Billon.
Inaugurated on May 18, 2015, by Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, the new African plant will have a surface totalling 2,000 sq. meters and represents an investment of €6 millions for a production capacity of 10,000 tons a year.
“We wanted to be able to ... make chocolate for Ivorians, for Africans and especially West Africans,” Ouattara said after a tour of the new facilities in Abidjan.
The factory will launch two new products in June with two more on the horizon, including:
A cooking chocolate bar (2 kg.) for professional bakers, pastry chefs and restaurateurs, under the Pupier brand.
The Tarticao stick (mini bag 20 g.) a hazelnut spread designed for local distribution channels.
A cashew recipe exclusive to the Ivorian market is being tested.
An instant cocoa powder for breakfast is projected to arrive in 2016.
In 2014, Cemoi also opened a shop in Abidjan to initiate Ivorian consumers in cocoa and chocolate. Members of the store team set up many activities and tastings and organized open days in schools.
Cemoi is committed to creating a chocolate network that starts with cultivation of cocoa beans. It already employs more than 1,000 local employees at its cocoa bean transformation site in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
It maintains close relationships with 19,000 cocoa farmers as part of its new Transparence Cacao program, aimed at producing chocolate from a 100 percent responsible network by 2020.
Cocoa, the “brown gold” for Ivory Coast, accounts for 22 percent of the country’s GDP, more than half of its exports and two-thirds of people’s jobs and incomes, according to the World Bank.