Ivory cocoa: the ambitions of a Malaysian crusher

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The countdown has begun for the Asian number of cocoa beans. Guanchong Cocoa is preparing to run its first factory in Côte d’Ivoire.

It is in the heart of the San Pedro industrial area that the number one grinder in Asia, the world’s fourth largest crusher, has decided to build its first African factory.

Guanchong Cocoa (GCB) hopes to be able to grind its first beans at the temporary harvest in the second quarter of 2022. Target: 60,000 tonnes initially, with an ambition to double or even triple this capacity.

The Malaysian company should allow the Ivorian Café Cacao Council to diversify its markets and find new customers in Asia and the Middle East. This will complement the traditional contracts concluded by the current majors, which are more focused on Europe and the United States.

New competition especially for local operatorsBut what is good for the Ivorian state will be good for other players in the sector? Guanchong Cocoa enters a market where other multinational companies such as Olam, Cargill Cemoi or Barry are already well established. We must also take into account local players, whether they are traders or exporters.

For these operators, the purchase of beans may be more problematic tomorrow, as the volumes available to the little ones will be less important, as the harvests are not elastic. “The state that pursues a policy that is favorable to the emergence of local actors will need to support them twice,” warns an expert already.

Prices for plantings should not sufferWhen it comes to the price paid for the planting, the arrival of a new major can not be bad, explains François Ruf, expert on cocoa economics for CIRAD. In the worst case, he explains, the operation will be neutral, in the best case, the arrival of a new player will be positive. Because even if the state officially sets the lowest purchase price, transactions are often completed at a lower price in the field.

When a new player arrives, it is automatically capital that enters the circuit and this can encourage higher purchases. Another practice that a new major would also benefit from marketing, suggests one of our interlocutors: more drastic control of weighing beans … The scales are often rigged to the detriment of the planting.

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