ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Premium chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut on Oct. 8 held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new cocoa facility in Durán, Ecuador.

Upon completion, the site will receive, dry, clean and store cocoa beans and prepare for export to cocoa and chocolate factories in the US, Canada, Asia and Europe. The facility will employ approximately 40. The project represents a significant investment in Ecuador as Barry Callebaut continues to develop the value chain of the fast-growing cocoa producing country, the company said.

“As a global leader in the cocoa and chocolate industry, we are excited about the opportunities associated with Ecuador cocoa bean production as well as its great growth potential,” said Steven Retzlaff, president of global cocoa for Barry Callebaut. “We are proud to continue investing in a country where we have been present since 2007.”

Angela Gubser, managing director of Ecuador for Barry Callebaut, added, “With this state-of-the-art infrastructure, we are making a long-term commitment to the country and its cocoa producing sector. Our team is looking forward to moving into the new premises, further developing business relations with existing and new partners and enhancing our sustainability programs with the Ecuadorian cocoa farmers.”