Akeredolu Inaugurates Johnvent’s N3bn Cocoa Factory, Firm Laments Rising Costs

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An agro-allied company, the Johnvent Industries Nigeria Limited said it had invested the sum of N3 billion to boost cocoa business in Ondo State and Nigeria as a whole.

It was gathered that the company acquired the cocoa factory in Nigeria from the previous occupier of the factory early this year.
The Group Managing Director of the company, Mr. John Alamu, while addressing journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on the development, explained that the firm was in the cocoa industry to make a difference.

Alamu disclosed that the company would be officially inaugurated by the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, next week.
He said, “We acquired the factory from Olam. Olam was the last tenant here and the factory belongs to Coop Cocoa. The nature of acquisition is this – the building belongs to Coop Cocoa while we had 100 per cent acquisition of all the equipment of the factory.

“We came in, in the month of April and since we came in, we have invested over N3 billion in revamping the entire factory. This investment has been in the area of upgrade of some machinery, complete over haul of some machinery.
“There has whole lot of development, this is not what this place used to be months ago. We have also invested a lot of money into procurement of cocoa beans.”

On the difference the company was bringing to the sector, Alamu said the products and by-products of the company would be for export.
“Ondo State is the largest cocoa pressing state in Nigeria. The biggest challenge for a factory like this is always raw materials but then because we are sited in Ondo State and we have in our procurement strategy, plans to do backward integration to support farmers.

“That would eventually lead to guarantee the supply of our raw materials. I can confirm that we have the big guys in the state working with us and we are still continuing to identify others and it is going to be a continuous job and as well identify more we are still going to partner more.

“There are many factories in Nigeria and there are quite a number of factories in Ondo State but there only few operational factories in Ondo State and they are not up to three. Most factories produce cocoa cake, a few produce powder and just about one or two process cocoa into butter. So, here we are producing butter for export.

“Our sales strategy is product specific. For our butter, it is 100 percent export and this industry will be playing a key role in enhancing Nigeria’s foreign exchange challenges. And already we have buys for our cocoa butter. We have signed agreement with countries abroad while for the powder, we are not willing to sell that abroad because we don’t want to package all our fortune here and take them abroad since there is a local demand for the powder”

He however lamented that the company faced some challenges which mainly include, funding and power, but saying the firm had been devising means to subdue the challenges
“Power is also a challenge, but today we have a dedicated line and we also have two 1500kva generator and we know what diesel cost is.

“So funding is a challenge, not just for us but of course to the players in this industry but interestingly we are leveraging on some CBN, BOI, NEXIM interventions.

“The shareholders have also invested a huge shareholders capital to finance the project and it is to the tune of 15 billion,” he explained.