Cameroon: Kekem Cocoa Processing Factory Major Breakthrough

The commissioning of the 32,000-tonne capacity industry by PM Dion Ngute last April opened floodgates of real competition in local transformation.

Neo Industry is the name. It is one of Africa’s biggest cocoa bean processing factory and it was on April 26, 2019 that the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Joseph Dion Ngute cut the symbolic ribbon officially declaring it functional. Located in Kekem, the new bean processing plant that produces cocoa butter and powder, is officially endowed with an annual production capacity of 32,000 tonnes. The project is said to have benefited from a FCFA 13 billion financing granted by the Societe Commerciale de Banque (SCB Cameroon), a local subsidiary of the Moroccan banking group Attijariwafa Bank. Apart from the tax and customs concessions offered by the government, the project also benefited, in June 2016, from direct public financing of FCFA 1.2 billion within the framework of the Agropoles project. Fully equipped by the German Buhler, presented as the world’s leader in the manufacture of equipment for the chocolate industry, Neo Industry at creation had projected initiating 750 indirect jobs. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute lauded all initiatives aimed at encouraging the production and consumption of made in Cameroon products and decorated the promoter, Emmanuel Noessi, on behalf of the Head of State. In effect, it took over three years for the 46-year old business guru; elite of Kekem and brain behind the initiative to come up with the finished processing plant. Cocoa processing output in Cameroon, Africa’s third biggest cocoa grower, is expected to double this season to 120,000 tonnes from 58,000 tonnes last season, the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana said while opening the new season last August. Plans to boost local processing of cocoa remained high on government agenda as well as other stakeholders. SIC CACAO, the local branch of Swiss Barry Callebaut, which had almost monopolised local processing said it had increased its grinding capacity at the beginning of the year from 35,000 to 50,000 tonnes. In the same vein, the Minister of Trade announced the imminent implantation of another processing plant at the new port city of Kribi. “We are moving to 90,000 tonnes. We are expecting another factory of the same capacity in the port of Kribi in the next few months, so we will be around 120,000 tonnes,” he said. Cocoa grindings in the 2018/2019 rose by 9.6 per cent to 58,552 metric tonnes from 53,403 metric tons the preceding season, the National Cocoa and Coffee Board indicated in its annual report. SIC Cacaos and Chococam processed 58,377 tonnes while the rest were processed by small scale local industries. In spite of this increase, the country processes only 25 per cent of its production while the cocoa sector’s recovery plan expects 50 per cent of its production processed by 2020 and production to stand at 600,000 tonnes annually. Many actors in the sector say these targets will not be attained.

Source: All Africa

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