Dubai’s DMCC unveils plans for cacao centre international trade hub

The Dubai-based DMCC Free Zone and government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise has unveiled plans for an advanced Cacao Centre, writes Neill Barston.

According to the organisation, it is set to initially incubate a select range of cacao services within its DMCC Coffee Centre in Jebel Ali starting from this summer, and will transform the emirate into an international centre for  the in-demand superfood as part of its mid to long-term development strategy.

Its development comes in the wake of several key businesses in the sector including Nestle and Barry Callebaut have unveiled cacao-based confectionery ventures that have sought to extend the traditional cacao fruit’s usage, devising additional chocolate and beverage ranges based on its pulp, that have extensive potential for the industry.

“The DMCC Cacao Centre represents the next phase of our growth strategy and will see us transform Dubai into a global hub for the cacao trade,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DMCC.

“Few thought the DMCC Tea Centre and DMCC Coffee Centre would reach the levels of trade we see today, so by utilising our expertise and experience gained from developing these commodities, we see cacao and its high-growth potential as a logical next step. Whilst connecting producers with consumers will be an important part of our model, we will ensure DMCC Cacao Centre follows our high-level approach toward sustainability, which prioritises driving value across the entire supply chain,” he added.

Global demand for the superfood cacao – shell, fruit and beans – is rising and considered one of nature’s highest sources of magnesium and iron, as well as antioxidants and natural cacao butter. Cacao is also linked to holistic wellness and is used for physical, mental and emotional balance.

DMCC is in contact with a range of cacao industry players, including Blue Stripes Urban Cacao and stakeholders across West Africa and South America, in order to better understand the needs of the market and how Dubai can play a central role in supporting its sustainable growth.

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