Encouraged by an increase in the demand for éclairs (chocolates) in the market, the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Co-operative Ltd. (CAMPCO) plans to increase its production capacity at its chocolate factory at Puttur in Dakshina Kannada this year.
S.R. Rangamurthy, president of the CAMPCO, told The Hindu that the present production of éclairs at its factory stood at 3,000 tonnes a year. Another unit with a capacity to produce 5,000 tonnes of éclairs a year would be added by December-end. Then, the production capacity at the Puttur factory would increase to 8,000 tonnes of éclairs a year. The expansion project was estimated to cost Rs. 3.8 crore, he said.
The demand for choco chips (made out of cocoa) manufactured at the factory had also increased. There was a good demand for the chips from north Indian States, especially from Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Gujarat. Stating that expansion of this unit was on the cards, he said a new machine would be installed at the factory during this fiscal year at an estimated cost of Rs. 90 lakh to increase its production.
Mr. Rangamurthy said that the existing machine at the factory had the capacity to produce five tonnes of choco chips a month against a demand for 35 tonnes a month. The new machine would have a capacity to produce 60 tonnes of choco chips a month, he said.
The co-operative would set up a drying yard to dry the wet cocoa beans purchased from farmers at Kavu, near Puttur. In addition, a centralised warehouse would be set up there to store rubber, which it was planning to procure from farmers, and other sources. It had purchased a 12-acre plot there for the purpose, he said.
The CAMPCO, which was a multi-State cooperative society of Karnataka and Kerala farmers, was awaiting the approval of the Rubber Board to start procuring rubber from growers. It had identified 10 places, in Karnataka and Kerala, in the rubber-growing areas to set up the proposed procurement centres, he said.