Wednesday, April 2, 2014


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Cocoa Beans is the dried and partially fermented fatty seed of the cacao tree from which chocolate is made. Cocoa can generically refer to cocoa powder, the dry powder made by grinding cocoa seeds and removing the cocoa butter from the dark, bitter cocoa solids; or it may refer to the combination of both cocoa powder and cocoa butter together.
Cocoa beans is one of the leading export commodity in Nigeria and rising international market prices for cocoa have continued to encourage Nigerian farmers to rehabilitate abandoned farms and also increase area under production. Growers returns have increased following the sharp rise in world price levels for cocoa caused by the conflict in Ivory Coast, the leading world producer. Over the last 5 years, Nigerian grower prices increased more than 50 percent to the current average of 460,000 Naira per MT.
There are 14 cocoa producing states in Nigeria and a total planted area of 640,000 hectares. Annual production has fluctuated between 250,000 and 320,000 tons over the past five years.
About 85 percent of total cocoa production is exported as cocoa beans while the remaining 15 percent is processed locally into butter, liquor, powder and cake before being mostly exported.
This report seeks to examine the financial viability or otherwise of establishing cocoa processing plant in Nigeria which involves the sourcing of raw cocoa seed and processing same to yield Cocoa Liquor, Cocoa Butter and Cocoa Powder.
Cocoa Liquor
Cocoa liquor, also known as chocolate liquor and cocoa mass, is a smooth liquid form of chocolate. It contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in roughly equal proportion. It is produced by taking cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried, roasted, and separated from their shells and grinding their center, the cotyledon. The chocolate liquor can then be cooled and moulded into blocks known as unsweetened baking chocolate. The liquor and blocks contain roughly 53 percent cocoa butter. Chocolate liquor contains no alcohol.
Cocoa Cake
Cocoa cake is the intermediate cocoa solids usually produced by hydraulic pressing after removing the bulk of the fat (cocoa butter) from loaded cocoa liquor. The first action is the breaking up of the cake, initially in sizable hard discs, into much smaller pieces by passing them through rotating toothed rollers. Most processors sell the resultant small lumps as ‘Kibbled’ cake. Kibbled cake can be pulverised and turned to cocoa powder by the process of grinding.
Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is the pale-yellow, edible natural vegetable fat of the cacao bean. Cocoa butter is extracted from the cacao beans and can be used to make chocolate, cocoa powder, pharmaceuticals, ointments, and toiletries. Cocoa butter has a mild chocolate flavor and aroma. During processing of the cacao bean, cocoa powder and cocoa butter are separated out at an early stage.
The two are recombined in the manufacture of regular (brown) chocolate bars. The confectionery known as white chocolate contains cocoa butter but not cocoa powder. Cocoa butter has a melting point of around 34 to 38 degrees Celsius (93 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit), rendering chocolate a solid at room temperature that readily melts once inside the mouth. Because of the melting temperature of cocoa butter, it is often used in pharmaceuticals as a base for suppositories.
It is able to be stored at room temperature, but readily melts at body temperature, releasing the medication. Cocoa butter is one of the most stable fats known, containing natural antioxidants that prevent rancidity and give it a storage life of two to five years, making it a good choice for non-food products. The smooth texture, sweet fragrance and emollient property of cocoa butter make it a popular ingredient in cosmetics and skin care products, such as soaps and lotions.
Cocoa Powder
Cocoa solids is a term for the non-fat component of liquor. It may also be called cocoa powder when sold as an end product. The fatty component of liquor is cocoa butter. The separation of the two may be accomplished by a press, or by the Broma process. Cocoa solids is what lend a chocolate bar its characteristic flavor and color, while cocoa butter is what provides smoothness and a low melting point. Cocoa powder is the last product in the secondary phase of the cocoa processing chain. It is derived from cocoa cake which is pulverized to become powder. There are two variants of cocoa powder.
These are natural cocoa powder and alkalized cocoa powder. The alkalized cocoa powder is obtained after the introduction of an alkalizing agent (sodium carbonate) at the nib stage during processing. The whole essence of introducing an alkalizing agent is to reduce the acidity of the powder in its natural state. The natural cocoa powder, just as its name implies, is without any alkalization. Both products are used in varying degrees in the production of cocoa based consumer products: Cocoa based beverage drinks, biscuits, chocolates etc.
Cocoa powder is usually chocolaty in colour. It is dry and in fine powder form. It is usually packed in 4 ply kraft paper bags with inner polythene lining. Cocoa solids are what contain most of the antioxidants associated with chocolate. Accordingly, health professionals recommend consuming chocolate in forms that are high in cocoa solids while low in cocoa butter, such as hot cocoa.
Domestic consumption of cocoa products is very insignificant and consists almost exclusively of cocoa powder used in breakfast beverages.

World consumption of cocoa and its bye products is estimated at 2 800 000 tons per year. The largest cocoa importers are Europe (more than 1.2 million tons per year) and the United States (0.4 million tons per year). The largest importers are Holland, the US, Germany, Britain and Brazil.

From the above figures, it is clear that there is a steady, ready and available export market for cocoa liquor, butter and powder.

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