Cargill expands cocoa pressing capacity at Ilhéus
Investment targets rising customer demand
Ilhéus, February 28, 2013 - Cargill will upgrade and expand in 25 percent the cocoa pressing capacity of its Ilhéus plant. The investment is designed to help the plant keep up with rising consumer demand for chocolate and cocoa products. The expansion project is already underway and expected to be concluded in early 2014.
Cargill is investing more than R$10 million in pressing equipment and a technology platform to ensure higher production efficiency and reduce energy demand of its operations in up to 10 percent.
Brazil's swelling middle class is one of the main factors driving consumption of food with richer flavor and more indulgent appeal. Accordingly, the demand for chocolate, ice cream, dairy beverages, cocoa powder beverages, desserts, biscuits, and other products containing cocoa products is on the rise and encourages investment in this industry.
The Association of Cocoa Processors (AIPC) reports that in 2012 the industry experienced a 3% growth in the processing of cocoa beans. “Cargill's investment is aligned with the goal of supporting the growth of our customers, with initiatives ranging from encouraging Brazilian cocoa farming to ensuring quality raw materials to implementing new processing technologies to promote ongoing competitiveness, ” explains Miguel Sieh, director of Cargill's Cocoa and Chocolate Business Unit.
Rising domestic production
Growing consumption of chocolate and cocoa products comes in tandem with an expanded supply chain and higher production of cocoa beans in Brazil, at the rate of 3-5 percent a year over the past five years. Cargill supports the cocoa supply chain and helps its expansion through initiatives and projects that encourage local cocoa farming.
Since 2008, in the state of Bahia, the company has been supporting the Phoenix project, an initiative led by the Association of Cocoa Processors (AIPC) that disseminates best growing practices. The project has already benefited 25 direct and about 300 indirect farmers.
Cargill has also been supporting different initiatives in the state of Pará. In partnership with the Executive Committee for Cocoa Farming (CEPLAC), in the past four years the company has distributed 20 million cocoa seeds to more than 2,000 farmers, which resulted in 10,000 hectares of cocoa farms.
Another initiative in the Amazon Region is the More Sustainable Cocoa Project. This is done in partnership with CEPLAC, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and a smallholders' cooperative of São Félix do Xingu (CAPPRU). The project encourages economically feasible reclamation of environmentally degraded areas, and promotes compliance with environmental regulations by smallholders in the area of São Félix do Xingu, state of Pará. The initiative will benefit 100 direct farmers and about 900 indirect farmers to plant 500 new hectares of cocoa.
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Cargill in Ilhéus
Cargill has operated its Ilhéus plant since 1980. It is one of the main cocoa suppliers in Latin America and processes cocoa beans to produce cocoa powder, liquor, and butter. The facilities employ about 300 people.
Cargill is an international producer and trader of food, agricultural, risk management, and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps its customers succeed through collaboration and innovation and is committed to using its global knowledge and experience to overcome economic, environmental, and social challenges wherever the company does business. For more information, visit the company's website at www.cargill.com.
Cargill has been in Brazil since 1965; while its operations started out in agriculture, today the company is one of the largest food companies in the country. Based in São Paulo, SP, the company is present in 14 Brazilian states. Cargill has plants and branch offices in nearly 130 cities in the country and employs more than 8,000 people.