YAOUNDE, March 16 (Reuters) - Cameroon plans to double its cocoa processing capacity to about 30 percent of its total production or nearly 70,000 tonnes of beans per year by adding 10 new processing units, a government official said on Monday.
The Central African nation, the world’s sixth biggest cocoa grower, produced 209,905 tonnes of beans in the 2013/14 season but only about 32,700 tonnes were processed locally.
The project is expected to cost about 3.2 billion CFA francs ($5.23 million) Bruno Ntakeu, a sub-director in charge of transformation at Cameroon’s industrial development ministry, said.
“The aim is to boost local transformation by creating new industrial processing units in Cameroon’s main cocoa growing regions,” Ntakeu said, without specifying if the new units would be government or private projects.
Cameroon aims to increase revenues from the cocoa sector by processing more beans locally into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
Ntakeu did not say when the plants would start production, but said the units would have the capacity to process 15 tonnes of cocoa per day and 36,000 tonnes per year, producing 9,000 tonnes of butter and 25,000 tonnes of cocoa powder for the local market and for exports.
Sic-Cacaos, a subsidiary of Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut ; Chocolaterie Confiserie du Cameroun (CHOCOCAM), a subsidiary of South Africa’s Tiger Brands and Morocco’s Compagnie Chérifienne de Chocolaterie are the three companies currently processing cocoa beans locally.
The world’s top producer Ivory Coast grinds about 35 percent of its beans locally. In 2010, it overtook the Netherlands to become the top cocoa grinder with a capacity to process 532,000 tonnes of beans mainly into cocoa butter and powder.
$1 = 612.0000 CFA francs Reporting by Tansa Musa and Sylvain Andzongo; Writing by Bate Felix. Editing by Jane Merriman