Tue, 19 Oct 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Seven foreign investors have expressed keen interest in building cocoa processing plants in Indonesia following the imposition of duties on cocoa exports as of April 1, 2010.

The seven investors are ADM Cocoa and Olam International of Singapore, Guanchong Cocoa of Malaysia, Cargill and Mars of the United States, Armajaro of Britan, and Ferrero of Italy, Director General of Agribusiness at the Industry Ministry Benny Wachjudi said on Monday.

"I don`t know when the investors will start investing. But they have asked for clarification on the possibility of the government reviewing the imposition of duties on cocoa exports," he said.

Benny said Guanchong Cocoa was likely to build a cocoa processing plant with an annual capacity of 50 thousand tons early next year.

In addition, he said local cocoa producer PT Bumitangerang Mesindotama would also double the production capacity of its plant in Tangerang, Banten province, to 80 thousand tons per year.

The expansion project which would cost an estimated US$40 million would be completed in eight months` time, he said.

Benny said a number of downstream cocoa processing plants had begun to revive their activities after they ceased operation.

Chairman of the Indonesian Cocoa Producers Association (AIKI) Piter Jasman said the imposition of duties on cocoa exports had a positive impact on the growth of downstream industries.

"Fifteen AIKI members have raised their production capacity. The national cocoa powder and butter production is projected to reach 300 thousand tons in 2011," he said.(*)