The Puratos Grand–Place Vietnam company under Belgium’s Puratos Group on November 14 inaugurated a cocoa processing plant and a centre for cocoa growing development in the southern province of Ben Tre.

Covering an area of five hectares in Giao Long Industrial Park, the eight million USD plant has an annual capacity of 5,000 tonnes of cocoa bean. In 2014, it is expected to process about 1,000 tonnes of cocoa bean for its chocolate production plant in Binh Duong province.

Meanwhile, the establishment of the cocoa development centre is to assist local farmers in planting cocoa trees in order to promote sustainable cocoa cultivation in the Mekong Delta region.

The company applies a production process called “from cocoa beans to finished chocolate.” The inauguration of the plant is one of the final steps to complete the closed process, said Managing Director of Puratos Grand–Place Vietnam Gricha Safarian.

Ben Tre has the largest cocoa cultivation area in Vietnam with over 10,000 ha, accounting for 50 percent of the total area of cocoa trees and one-third of the nation’s cocoa output.-VNA