Cargill opens $100m Indonesian cocoa plant

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Cargill inuagrates Gresik plant, which will produce cocoa powder, butter and liquor
Cargill inuagrates Gresik plant, which will produce cocoa powder, butter and liquor

Related tags Chocolate Cocoa bean Indonesia International cocoa organization

Cargill has opened its first cocoa processing facility in Asia in the East Java region of Indonesia.

The Gresik factory will produce Cargill’s Gerkens cocoa powders as well as cocoa liquor and butter.

Cargill will take on an additional 300 people at the 70,000 metric ton (MT) processing plant.

The company has sourced cocoa from Indonesia since 1995. It will primarily source cocoa beans for the factory from Sulawesi.

Supporting cocoa production

Indonesia is Asia premier cocoa producer, but pests and diseases threaten its output.

Cocoa production in Indonesia fell from 410,000 MT in the previous season to 405,000 MT in the 2013/14 crop year due to pest infestation and farmers switching to coffee, which is less vulnerable to plant disease, according to a recent update from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO).

Cargill plans to train 4,500 cocoa farmers in newly created Farmer Field Schools in the Bone and Soppeng regencies that will teach how to guard against pests and diseases, such as Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB), Black Pod and Vascular-Streak Dieback (VSD).

Indonesia: Asia’s leading grinder

Cargill in Indonesia
Cargill to train Indonesia cocoa farmers how to guard against pests and diseases.

While cocoa production in Indonesia is lagging, cocoa grindings in the country rose dramatically in 2013/14 and Indonesia surpassed Malaysia as Asia largest cocoa processor for the first time. Grindings in the country grew by nearly 21% to 322,000 MT, according to the ICCO.

Mintel previously valued the Indonesian chocolate confectionery market at $867.1m in 2012 and expects it to grow by 24% by the end of 2014.

Cargill was recently overtaken as the world’s largest cocoa grinder by Barry Callebaut, which last year added extra capacity by acquiring Petra Foods' ingredients division.

Its other cocoa sourcing and processing facilities are located in Western Europe, Vietnam, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Brazil and the US.

Last year, Barry Callebaut opened a $33m cocoa processing facility​ in Makassar, Indonesia, in a joint venture with cocoa trader P.T. Comextra Majora. Barry Callebaut also acquired a cocoa processing plant in Indonesia through the Petra Foods deal.

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