LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Global commodities trader Cargill said on Wednesday it is investing more than $113 million to expand its cocoa processing facilities in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, creating 85 direct and hundreds of indirect jobs.
Cargill, one of the world's largest agricultural traders, said it is also investing $12.3 million to expand sustainability and supply chain tracing programmes in the west African nations.
Ivory Coast and Ghana produce some two-thirds of the world's cocoa, but their industry is blighted by poverty, child labour and deforestation. Decades of industry efforts to source sustainably have done little to change this reality.
"We aim to shift a greater share of our global grinding activities to the countries of origin, so we can support the establishment of a broader, local agri-food industry," Lionel Soulard, managing director Cargill West-Africa, said in a statement.
Going up the value chain by expanding cocoa processing is a major objective for the Ivory Coast and Ghana governments, as selling processed or semi-processed cocoa products is more lucrative than exporting the raw material. (Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)