Courtesy of ICCO

Courtesy of ICCO

Securing future cocoa supply

Last week when I hosted a reception together with the Swedish chairman of the International Cocoa Council Ms Anna Tofftén, I was told about the looming crisis in this cocoa industry. I also learned about the work of the International Cocoa Council to facilitate a fairer and more sustainable world cocoa economy, not least to the benefit of small scale producers all over the world. I now realize how important this work is if we are to secure future supply of cocoa.

The chocolate confectionary industry is a massive global industry worth many billions of dollars. What few people realise is that this chocolate industry is potentially facing a crisis. With increased demand we might soon face a shortage of cocoa. Some people predict that there will be a 30% growth in cocoa demand by 2020. The problem is that cocoa is mainly produced by small scale farmers in West Africa and they are not making much money from cocoa production. The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa producer and the country has seen prices fluctuate significantly over the years. Many farmers are now abandoning the cocoa industry because of low prices and difficult conditions. Their children are not interested to continue their work as it simply doesn’t pay well enough. The average age of a cocoa farmer in West Africa is now over 50. For chocolate lovers this should be of some concern. It will be hard to secure future supply unless more farmers are attracted to continue cocoa production.

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