Cargill has announced a 13 million dollar investment in the expansion of its cocoa processing site in Tema, Ghana to increase production capacity by 20 per cent.
Cargill has also committed 3.4 million dollars to Ghanaian community sustainability programmes and cocoa traceability efforts in Ghana.
These programmes will enhance the safety and wellbeing of children and families in cocoa farming areas and provide a more transparent, traceable cocoa supply chain for customers and consumers according to Cargill Chief Executive, David MacLennan.
A statement from Cargil and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday said the announcement was made by Mr MacLennan during a dinner hosted by the U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan in his honour as part of activities marking his industrial visit to Ghana, in which the Vice President. Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was the Special Guest at the dinner.
The statement said Mr MacLennan's industrial visit with a team of top executives was to afford Cargill the opportunity to deepen its relationship with the Ghanaian government and stakeholders of the cocoa industry.
It said the itinerary of his visit comprised a tour of the Cargill cocoa processing site where Mr MacLennan laid the first stone to symbolize the expansion works and the Akodzo Basic School in Tema, one of the educational projects under the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company's corporate commitment to improve the livelihoods in communities where they operate.
The statement said the Managing Director of Cargill's cocoa and chocolate business in Ghana, Mr Aedo van der Weij said the company wants to meet customer demand and continuously work with Ghana to create economic opportunities and build sustainable local businesses.
The statement said: "The 13 million dollar investment to expand Cargill's cocoa processing site in Tema will create many indirect jobs, from labourers to university-educated positions.
Building on the success of the 'Good of taste of Ghana' when we started producing cocoa powders in the country in 2008, the expansion of Tema is needed to meet customer demand for high value cocoa powders.
Working directly with the Ghanaian government and other key stakeholders, we are committed to economic growth, building sustainable local businesses and diversifying sources of income for those who live here," it added.
The statement said in addition to the site investment, Cargill would invest 3.4 million dollar over the next three years in Ghanaian community projects and supply chain traceability, with a focus on creating stronger, more resilient cocoa farming communities.
These projects, it said were part of the Cargill Cocoa Promise the company's corporate commitment to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities and would involve partnership with CARE to strengthen community governance and improve nutrition in cocoa growing communities.
It will also involve the building of six new schools as well as the implementation of a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to include 8,000 farmers and their families.
The statement said Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia commended the Company for the initiatives as this was in line with government's agenda for the economy.
"This is exactly what we are looking for with our economic program; to have more private sector players expand industrialization efforts and create jobs for our youth" Dr Bawumia said.
"Cargill says it is committed to delivering secure, sustainable and innovative cocoa and chocolate products.
In Ghana, where Cargill has already achieved 100 percent traceability in its supply chain from farm to factory using high-end technologies, the company will continue to invest in GPS polygon mapping of new farms that have recently joined the Cargill Cocoa Promise programme and are delivering cocoa through its Licensed Buying Company-Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd." the statement noted.