The company seeks to recover 67 hectares of cocoa cultivation and that in each one a ton and a half of this raw material is produced. Currently, it is produced from 100 to 500 kilograms per hectare.
The Ferrero Group has an ambitious plan. With an investment of 10 million pesos, the chocolate firm seeks to recover 67 hectares of cocoa cultivation in the Soconusco region, in Chiapas, with the aim of tripling the production of this raw material, which is the basis for the manufacture of its products. products.
According to Paolo Cornero, president and CEO of Ferrero Mexico, it is a five-year investment plan, in partnership with ECOM Agrodustrial, a global company dedicated to the processing and marketing of coffee, cocoa and cotton, through six plants: two in Amsterdam, two in Germany, one in Nigeria and one in Veracruz.
The intention, says the Italian director, is that the crops that leave 100 to 500 kilograms per hectare go from 400 to 1,500 kilograms for every 100 meters of crops, since Chiapas is a strategic state for the company, which together with Tabasco represents 90% of the total Mexican cocoa production.
Despite this, this industry faces an important challenge. While world production is around 5 million tons, Mexico produces around 27,000 tons, that is, in percentage it does not even represent 0.5% of world production.
Tonatiúh Acevedo, director of ECOM Cocoa Mexico, reports that 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced in Africa, most of it in the Ivory Coast, followed by Ghana. From there follows Latin America. Ecuador produces 350,000 tons of cacao, followed by Peru and Brazil. “In Mexico, production exceeded 50,000 tons, but in 2005 there was an epidemic of Moniliasis that affected 95% of the state’s crops,” he points out.
Regarding how the investment will be used, both directors commented that the sustainable cultivation of cocoa will be promoted, through the training of 126 farmers in Chiapas, in order to generate a positive impact on the hectares that have more than 75,600 cocoa plants.
“With the support of our allies in the Ivory Coast and ECOM, they will be given the tools, in accordance with the UTZ certification, a global program that allows producers to use better agricultural methods, develop better crops and generate more income,” says Cornero. .
In addition, each farmer will be visited four times a year to monitor the process and support on-site training, and plantations that are sick or that are already very old will be replaced by healthy plants that are more tolerant to climate change and diseases. like Moniliasis.
The value of cocoa
Today, Ferrero is one of ECOM’s main clients. The Italian company not only buys cocoa beans for the manufacture of products such as Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Sorpresa, but they are allies in various social responsibility programs in Mexico and abroad.
In a previous interview with Expansión, Cornero commented that he was concerned about the inflationary trend in the country. “We know that the consumer’s pocket will be under pressure and not only our product, which is also not essential; however, we care about quality and packaging, that is the differentiator,” he said.
And he wasn’t wrong. In 2021, interruptions in the global supply chain, added to an increase of between 3% and 4% in sugar prices and high energy prices, made the price of candy more expensive by 2.5% compared to the previous year, according to IHS Markit calculations.
Although this price adjustment was lower than expected, which was around 5%, the analysis firm envisioned that buying candy in the first quarter of 2022 could be more expensive than in 2021.
In this context, the director emphasized that the company should be very careful and focus actions on the projects that are most important, that can generate more results in the medium or short term and that guarantee people’s work. ‘Ferrero por el campo’, as the project is called, is one of them, taking into account the importance of cocoa for the company and that today it has 27.7% of the value of the chocolate market in Mexico.
“Staying in the regions of Europe would have been a sentence. Today we are a company that also produces in Mexico, exports to North and South America, and that has a very clear DNA, but with a turnover of 12,000 million euros worldwide,” says Cornero. Ferrero Mexico also had revenue growth of 15.9% in 2021 compared to last year, with total sales of 404 million euros.