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FMO’s financing will support ECOM’s cocoa products operations in Nigeria, which is part of the group’s sustainable and traceable cocoa business. As a local processor, the group’s success largely depends on the farmers’ ability to supply products in right quantities and quality to meet its clients’ needs. For this reason, ECOM works extensively with farmers to help them improve yields, quality and in turn, their income. Cocoa and coffee are primarily shipped to developed countries, where its consumers have become increasingly interested in, and conscious about, how and where their products have been produced. Progressively, the industry is concerned about the social and environmental practices of its primary producers. With its traceable and certified product offering, ECOM has a strong competitive advantage which is expected to grow over time.
Operating under the name “Theobroma”, the cocoa products activities involve the trading, processing, shipping, and delivery of cocoa products, as well as the financing of local farmers, thereby servicing the worldwide chocolate industry from origin to production line. Since 2006, the company has its own proprietary production of cocoa products in The Netherlands and Nigeria under the brand “Tulip Cocoa”. As per today, ECOM’s cocoa products division operates 6 processing factories, while the company also possesses 50.000 MT of melting/deodorizing capacity, divided over 2 countries. This, combined with the group’s pioneering role in certified and traceable bean sourcing makes it a strong business model.
Thomas Quiévy, Deputy Group Treasurer at ECOM, commented: “FMO’s support contributes to the development of agricultural supply chains in poor and remote areas where difficult access to credit hampers economic development and the improvement of the farmer’s living conditions.”
Suzanne Gaboury, Director Agribusiness, Food & Water at FMO, explains: “ECOM’s inclusive and integrated supply chain model perfectly fits into FMO’s strategy to support companies that have a positive impact on the agricultural supply chains. Therefore, we are pleased to support this project for our highly valued client.”
ECOM is a family business with over 167 years of experience in supply chain management. The company’s origin is in Europe’s industrial revolution’s emergent cotton industry, supplying raw cotton and wooden barrels to manufacturers in Barcelona and surrounding regions. Late in the nineteenth century, ECOM expanded its operations to the US and established itself in several countries in the Americas. Today the company is one of the leading coffee, cocoa and cotton merchants, active in over 40 countries and playing a leading role in sustainability. It is continuously increasing its efforts to improve its sustainable supply chains, which is why it caught the attention of FMO in 2012 and has been a well-respected client ever since.