Fri, 22 Oct 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Benny Wachjudi, the Industry Ministry’s Agro and Chemical director-general, said there were seven foreign investors interested in investing in the cocoa industry. They are ADM Cocoa from Singapore, Guanchong Cocoa from Malaysia, Olam International from Singapore, Cargill from the Netherlands, Mars from the US, Armajaro from the UK and Ferrero from Italy.

Benny admitted the plan was not yet in the form of an agreement, but some of these potential investors have met with the Investment Coordination Board (BKPM). “In fact, some have only conveyed their intention in a letter,” he said yesterday.

According to Benny, the investors are waiting for the decision whether or not the regulation on the cocoa pod export tax which became effective last April, will be continued. If it is confirmed, they will go ahead with the investment. The government plans to direct foreign investors to locations that will be developed as cocoa industry clusters, like Gowa in South Sulawesi.

Earlier, Sindra Wijaya, the Indonesian Cocoa Industry Association executive director, said that since the cocoa tax was implemented, more foreign investors have been interested in investing in Indonesia. Three of them, ADM Cocoa, Guan Chong, and Olam International, plan to construct cocoa processing factories, each with a production capacity of 50.000 tons. The investment value of the three companies will be US$ 300 million. Guan Chong will build the plant in Batam, while Olam and ADM will build one in Sulawesi.

Meanwhile, a local company, PT Bumitangerang Mesindotama, will expand its cocoa processing plant in Tangerang. The company’s production capacity which was initially 40.000 tons per year, will be increased to 80.000 tons per year.

The development of the downstream cocoa industry has become the Industry Ministry’s main priority apart from crude palm oil and rubber. Indonesia is currently the third biggest cocoa producer in the world with last year’s production totaling 803.000 tons or 15 percent of the total world production.

Cocoa seed exports last year was 535.000 tons or 66,65 percent of the total production in the country. This was an increase compared to 2008 exports, which amounted to 516.000 tons.

Djunari Waskito, the Indonesian Trade Attach in Singapore, said Singaporean investors plan to come to South Sulawesi to do a feasibility study. “There is cocoa and nickel in South Sulawesi. If they want to invest, we can direct them towards the downstream industry,” he said.

So far, Indonesian cocoa seeds are mostly exported and processed overseas. Based on data from the UN Comtrade, cocoa exports to Singapore in January to July 2010 was 9.87 percent of the total cocoa exported, valued at US$977 million.