TEMPO.CO, Gresik – Chocolate-based food and beverages manufacturer Cargill yesterday launched a US$100-million cocoa bean processing plant in Gresik, East Java. The plant, said to be the largest in the Asia-Pacific, will have a production capacity of 70,000 metric tons and will produce Cargill's Gerkens® cocoa powder as well as high quality cocoa liquor and butter.
"The factory can absorb 300 new workers," said Jos de Loor, Cargill cocoa & chocolate business president for Europe Middle-East, Africa and Asia.
Cargill is optimistic that the Gresik plant will strengthen the sustainable of Indonesia's cocoa industry, as the company plans to train and certify 4,500 Indonesian cocoa farmers in its Farmer Field Schools in the Bone and Soppeng regencies.
The Indonesian Ministry of Industry has named cocoa processing industry as one of the state's priority industries. "Cocoa industry has an important role in increasing foreign exchange gains and economic improvement," said Industry Minister Saleh Husin who attended the factory launch.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Sofyan Djalil previously said Cargill was ready to invest heavily in Indonesia starting next year. "Up to US$700 million in total," he said after meeting with representatives from Cargill in his office, Monday.
ANTARA | RACHMA TW | JAYADI SUPRIADIN