Cargill opens latest wet mill in Surabaya, meeting Asian demand for starches and sweeteners

Global agri-group Cargill has inaugurated a major new corn wet mill in Pandaan, Pasuruan, Surabaya, East Java, in response to growing demand in starches and sweeteners within the Asian market, reports Neill Barston.

The $100 million investment, built during the pandemic, is also expected to benefit local economy by creating up to 4,000 new jobs and employment opportunities, and help with the development of Indonesia’s food and beverage industry.

The growth outlook of food and beverage industry in Indonesia is expected to be at 7% post-COVID era. This results in an expected increment in demand for corn starches, which quite often have to be imported from international markets. Cargill’s new corn wet mill in Pandaan will bring the much-needed high quality ingredients to these industries. This aligns with the Indonesian government’s vision of import substitution while also increasing export of value-added products.

The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto welcomed the facility’s development. He said: “In Quarter 1 of 2022, the food and beverage industry contributed 37.77% of the GDP of the non-oil and gas industry. Cargill’s investment is expected to enrich the competitiveness of the food and beverage industry, and certainly to increase the domestic processing of starch and sweeteners. The government continues to ensure the availability of raw materials from both domestic and global markets so that this kind of investment continues to grow and allow Indonesia to compete in the global market.”

“The new facility allows us to purchase corn and convert it into corn-based starches and sweeteners, so that we can better meet customer needs both in Indonesia and international markets. We believe with the new mill we can better support government in growing Indonesia’s food and beverage industry by enhancing capacity as well as competitiveness in the international markets. We are also grateful for the strong support we have received from governments at all levels with this project” said Ming Peng, Managing Director of Cargill Starches, Sweeteners, and Texturizers Asia.

Sweetener producers in Indonesia use corn starches to make specialty products with high added value, such as glucose, sorbitol, and maltodextrin, which are exported to more than 40 countries in Asia and Africa, such as Japan, the Philippines, India, South Africa, Australia, Vietnam, and Egypt.

The new corn wet mill has adopted advanced technologies, such as industry 4.0 practices, to optimize automation in the whole process from mill to packaging using robotics systems. The new facility has also applied the highest standards in waste management and water conservation, reducing electricity and water consumption, as well as maximizing the effectiveness of wastewater purification.

In addition, to support biodiversity conservation, Cargill has also established an ecosystem management model through a land rehabilitation program by planting more than 60,000 trees. Construction of the new plant started in 2020, and Cargill implemented strict safety and health protocols, including those for containing COVID-19. No accidents occurred during the construction phase, with more than 4.7 million safe working hours recorded.

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