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Business News of Saturday, 9 April 2016

Source: GNA

President Mahama and Ethiopian Prime Minister visit factory

President John Dramani Mahama and the visiting Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Haile Mariam Desalegn, on Friday toured the Cocoa Touton Processing Company factory at the Tema free zone enclave.
The visit was part of activities aimed at highlighting Ghana's steady growth and development in the manufacturing sector of the economy.

It is also to deepen Ghana-Ethiopia diplomatic ties and consolidates Ghana’s position as the preferred destination for trade and investment on the continent, on account of a stable democracy, respect for the rule of law and an enabling business environment.

The Touton Group is one of the world’s largest traders in cocoa, coffee, vanilla, spices and a variety of natural ingredients, using a network of exporting subsidiaries.

The company crowned its more than 40- year trade relations with Ghana, by investing in a multi-million Euro cocoa processing facility in the country last year, joining the list of the very few companies producing cocoa liquor for export.

In Ghana, Cocoa Touton Processing Company currently produces 30, 000 tons of processed cocoa and exports to countries in Europe, USA and the Middle East with a turnover of $ 80 million.

Welcoming the two leaders to the factory's premises, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Touton Group, Olivier Lieutard, emphasised the importance of both countries to the operations of the company.

“Besides trading in Ghana cocoa, Touton has also been trading with Ethiopia in coffee, over the past 10 years. Ghana and Ethiopia produce the most premium quality cocoa and coffee in the world,'' he pointed out.

Mr Lieutard paid tributes to the Ghana and the Ghana Cocoa Board for their support and consistent supply of cocoa beans, which has helped Touton maintain operations at optimum capacity, since the facility was established.

The company, he said, plans to increase its production capacity to 60,000 tonnes of beans from the current level in the next five years.

It also intends to expand its product range to butter, cake and powder.

With the increased capacity the company’s investment would reach 50 million dollars and turnover would rise to 200 million dollars.

During the period local purchases account for 85 million dollars, including cocoa, salaries, energy, transport and services.

Mr Lieutard said the company is also involved in initiatives with the Ghanaian authorities to ensure a sustainable and environmental friendly cocoa supply chain and better livelihood for farmers.

President Mahama said the operations of the factory is in line with government’s agenda to add value to the country’s agricultural produce, including cocoa rather than exporting the commodity in the raw state.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Haile Mariam Desalegn said the factory is a good lesson for the African continent to help boost manufacturing and industrialisation.

The Touton group took over an existing factory built in 2007 in April last year after an initial investment of $17 million and became Cocoa Touton Processing Company.

It currently has 135 employees.