Singapore-based agribusiness group Olam International is to build a cocoa processing facility in Cote d’Ivoire.

Olam said today (17 August) that it would build a greenfield cocoa processing in Abidjan, the country’s capital. The US$43.5m investment also includes a primary processing and warehousing facility in San Pedro.

The cocoa plant will process around 60,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, butter and cake.

The San Pedro site will be a drying, cleaning and sorting site – or “usine” as defined by the cocoa industry, Olam said.

Gerry Manley, managing director and global head of cocoa at Olam, said the investment in Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, would improve the company’s margins and make it more competitive in the sector.

“Cote d’Ivoire is a key location for setting up our first, large greenfield cocoa processing plant as the country’s cocoa products are an important ingredient to our customers’ chocolate recipes,” Manley said.

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“This investment provides synergies with our bean business as it leverages our strengths in sourcing traceable and certifiable cocoa beans directly from growers in various producing regions and in supplying to discerning customers who are looking to outsource their cocoa ingredients to reliable, independent suppliers.”