Barry Callebaut has opened a state-of-the-art processing unit at its Zone 4C Société Africaine de Cacao (SACO) plant in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The new grinding unit, part of a $55.18 million investment, will increase SACO’s cocoa bean processing capacity by 40 percent over the next three years. Once the processing unit is fully operational, Barry Callebaut will employ an additional workforce of 45 people and create 120 indirect jobs.
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, ceo of the Barry Callebaut Group, described the project as a sign of the company’s commitment to investing in Côte d’Ivoire and the African continent.
“Not only as a supplier of high quality cocoa beans but also as an industrial base and as an emerging market for cocoa and chocolate consumption, as is also exemplified by last year’s opening of our first Chocolate Academy Center on the African continent in Johannesburg, South Africa,” he said.
The expansion fits with the Ivorian government’s desire to increase local cocoa processing capacity and is in line with Barry Callebaut’s objective to supply the growing market for cocoa in West Africa with domestic supply.
Barry Callebaut has a long history of investing in cocoa processing in West Africa, through its subsidiary SACO in Côte d’Ivoire, founded in 1964. Today, the group’s two most important cocoa grinding factories, which produce cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and powder for global and regional customers, are based in Abidjan and San Pedro.