BIO Supports Cocoa Production in Ghana

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Niche Cocoa Industry, Ltd purchases beans from Ghana's Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who in turn sources them from local farmers. Niche processes these beans into high quality finished products such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder, then exports them around the world. BIO has been a partner in the development of this successful start-up enterprise since 2011, when BIO financed the acquisition of a press to transform cocoa liquor into cocoa butter and powder.

With a strong foundation in place, Niche is ready to introduce two new product lines which target the local Ghanaian market: chocolate spreads and chocolate bars. Years of research and testing have gone into developing palate-pleasing products which do not melt in tropical environments, and the results will soon be evident. These products will fill a void in Ghana as spreads are not readily available and high quality chocolate bars are not sold at a generally accessible price point.

In addition to offering good products, Niche plays an important role in regional employment creation since it provides over 400 well paying jobs at its facility. Moreover, Niche sources cocoa beans from approximately 30,000 farmers when running at capacity, thereby offering these individuals a reliable market for their produce. As Niche increases its beans purchases to meet greater factory processing requirements, it plans to increase its use of Fair Trade and organic certified beans to ensure a fair income for farmers. Niche collaborates with Glover, a company that supports the organization of small scale cocoa farmers and helps them in producing organic cocoa and the certification of their organic produce. Niche provides technical expertise to the farmers through Glover, and Glover has established a special warehouse under the auspices of COCOBOD to ensure the exclusive treatment and trade of organic cocoa.

BIO is proud to support Niche in its ambitious plan to expand its presence in Ghana. By providing a long-term loan of EUR 4.3 Million, BIO will help this entrepreneurial company finance its chocolate refining initiatives and contribute to Ghana's further establishment as a leader in world-class cocoa production.

After visiting the Niche Cocoa facility, BIO's CEO Luuk Zonneveld commented:

“Imagine a country where a large part of the economy is dependent on cocoa production, where schools are being built and scholarships made available to children from poor families thanks to cocoa sector revenues. However, the children in these schools have never seen, let alone tasted chocolate. That’s the situation in most of Ghana today. We are thrilled that as Niche has established one of only two chocolate production lines in the country, children in Ghana will finally be able to taste the finished product of its world-renowned cocoa beans. It is an honour to continue to work with a company which prioritizes so highly and in such a variety of ways the importance of Ghana’s own population benefiting from the production of cocoa beans."