A Swiss tropical fruit processing and drying plant was launched Thursday in Asse (Bonoua), a town located 60 km south-east of Abidjan, at a whopping investment cost of 3.27 billion CFA francs.The Ivorian Minister of Investment and Private Sector Development, Emmanuel Essis Esmel, and the Swiss Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Anne Lugin-Moulin attended the official opening of the factory.
The food-processing unit, located at the heart of the Ivorian pineapple production, processes 7,700 tonnes of mangoes, pineapples, coconuts and bananas per year.
It also processes 800 tonnes of premium quality dried fruit, 400 tonnes of which are organic.
The new Swiss company has created 450 jobs.
Mr. Essis Esmel noted that the processing unit is part of the vision of the Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara, who has set the course for the structural and economic transformation of the country through industrialization.
He observed that “in this regard, the investment framework has been improved” with tools to promote private investment and support investors, which has produced results over the past ten years.
For 2020-2025, the president asks to speed up the process and this is reflected in his vision of an “interdependent Cote d’Ivoire that creates more and better shared wealth,” through the private sector, he added.
“Today, I am proud that many Swiss companies are present in Cote d’Ivoire (and) we have more than 40” of them, said the Swiss ambassador, Mrs. Anne Lugin-Moulin.
According to the Swiss diplomat, “Cote d’Ivoire is one of Africa’s economic lions in the new strategy” developed by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
The agricultural sector in Cote d’Ivoire, one of the pillars of the economy, generates more than 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 50 percent of the national workforce.
However, the country’s share of income generated remains low, due to the low prices of agricultural raw materials, which requires processing.
HPW Managing Director Otmar Hofer said “it was the exceptional agricultural and human resource conditions in Cote d’Ivoire that prompted the decision to invest” in this sector.
“We process pineapples, coconuts, bananas and papayas, in addition to mango, which is a seasonal product,” Mr. Otmar Hofer added, hailing the ideal climatic conditions for all these fruits.
Cote d’Ivoire, the most powerful economy in the UEMOA zone, accounts for 35 percent of the GDP of the sub-regional bloc.
The country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) has doubled since 2012 to reach € 800 million, with a target of € 1 within three years.
HPW Fresh & dry Cote d’Ivoire is a subsidiary of HPW AG, in Buchs, Switzerland.
After more than ten years of supplying specialty food products to the Swiss retail market, HPW AG built its first dried fruit factory in Ghana in 2010.
Today, the Ghana plant employs more than 1,200 people and mainly processes the fruits of 1,400 smallholders into 2,000 tonnes of export products.
In addition to dried fruits, the plant produces fruity snacks.