GHANA – Ghanaian cocoa processor, West African Mills Company (WAMCO), co-owned by Hosta International AG from Switzerland and the state, plans to invest US$5m to upgrade its cocoa processing facilities based in the Effia Industrial Zone in Takoradi, Western Ghana.
According to Frank Bednar, General Manager of the company, the envelope will make it possible to proceed with the purchase of new equipment to modernize its production units of cocoa liquor and cocoa butter extraction.
In addition, the company plans to carry out rehabilitation and repair work on its cocoa butter production line, the Hydraulic Press Plant (WAMCo2), which once operational it will create some 120 jobs.
WAMCO, founded in 1947, has an installed processing capacity of 250 tons of cocoa per day.
“We have plans to modernize our plants and present an investment plan to our shareholders for approval.
“We are also looking for opportunities to cooperate with Swiss Universities and institutions in the field of food processing, quality management and research.
“Also, some of the major equipment manufacturers such as Bühler from Switzerland will be invited to assist in this equipment improving exercise,” said Bednar.
Recently, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signed an agreement with the world’s leading plant equipment manufacturer, to build Ghana’s local cocoa processing and value addition capacity through training, product development and technology guidance.
Bühler is one of the top-class organisations in the world when it comes to chocolate technology as it provides complete solutions for processing cocoa beans to high-quality chocolate masses.
By leveraging on Buhler’s expertise and technology, Ghana will move from the traditional cocoa production to a modern way of cocoa production.
Most cocoa produced in West Africa is largely sold as a raw commodity, with the producing countries retaining only a small proportion of the global cocoa market’s value, which garnered US$12.87 billion in 2019, and is estimated to generate US$15.50 billion by 2027, manifesting a CAGR of 4.3% from 2021 to 2027, according to a report published by Allied Market Research.
Côte d’Ivoire exports 72% of cocoa as whole beans, while in Ghana the figure is 68%. Processing is largely concentrated in goods at the lower end of the value chain for cocoa paste, butter and powder, done by small number of players.
With such an investment, WAMCO intends to increase its productivity and, by extension, the volume of its supply of cocoa-derived products as well as its exports, which are mainly intended for the European Union (EU) and the USA.