Cocoa farmers in Africa and Latin America bear the cost of keeping chocolate cheap (2023)

Geoffrey York

Africa Bureau Chief

Adrian Morrow

U.S. Correspondent

Akoupé, ivory coast and san francisco de macoris, dominican republic

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Canadian consumers, seeing labels that boast of “100-per-cent sustainably sourced cocoa” on many of the most popular chocolate products in Canada’s supermarkets, might never imagine that hunger and poverty are the grim daily reality for millions of cocoa farmers in Africa and Latin America.

Sustainable cocoa – a promise of all the major cocoa and chocolate companies – is vaguely defined and can include anything from training and education programs to a variety of supply certification schemes that pay premiums and attempt to trace cocoa origins. But at the heart of the sustainability concept is a pledge by the major manufacturers to help farmers gain a decent income. The promise is crucial to their marketing: a reassuring signal to consumers that a chocolate purchase is an ethical one.

The companies that use this type of marketing have been enormously successful. Oxfam estimated this week that four of the world’s biggest chocolate manufacturers – Hershey, Lindt, Mondelez and Nestlé – have collectively made nearly US$15-billion in profits from their confectionary divisions in the past three years, an average increase of 16 per cent since 2020.

Yet the promise of a decent income for farmers is still unfulfilled. West African officials say that the sustainability labels on chocolate products are misleading, since most of the world’s cocoa farmers today are still struggling to make a living.

More than half of cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast – the world’s biggest cocoa producer – earn less than the national poverty line of about US$3 per day. A survey in 2021 by Fairtrade International, one of the major certification programs, found that 88 per cent of certified farmers in Ivory Coast were still earning less than a “living income,” based on its calculation of basic living costs.

Another survey, released this week by Oxfam, found an average decline of 16 per cent in the net incomes of cocoa farmers in Ghana since 2020, with the vast majority reporting that their income has deteriorated and they cannot afford the cost of food or other basics.

Adequate pay would not only alleviate poverty on cocoa farms but would also reduce the risk of child labour – one of the most notorious social problems in the cocoa industry for decades. Yet there is strong evidence that child labour remains as widespread as ever.

A study by the European Commission in 2021 quoted farmers as saying that the cocoa price will need to triple or quadruple in order to provide enough income to ensure they won’t rely on child labour. The overall prevalence of the practice, the study found, has remained roughly the same over the past decade, with around 1.5 million children working in the cocoa sector in those two West African countries.

Cocoa incomes remain low, and poverty remains high, because most farmers are obliged to be price-takers in a ruthlessly efficient industry with a global cocoa surplus. Corporate buyers continue to hold ultimate power, and they continue to squeeze the price as low as possible. In a chocolate industry with a worldwide value of about US$140-billion a year, less than 7 per cent of total revenue goes back to the farmers. Soaring costs have made inputs such as fertilizer difficult for many to afford, leading to a decline in their harvests.

“For cocoa farmers, these are dire times,” said a report last year by the Cocoa Barometer Consortium, a group of civil-society organizations. “Decades of calls for higher prices have so far not been answered. Without significantly higher farm gate prices, sustainability in the cocoa sector is a pipe dream.”

The battle over cocoa prices is increasingly fierce. Ivory Coast, with about 40 per cent of global production, has responded to the price squeeze by forming a coalition with the second-biggest producer, Ghana, which has about 15 per cent of world production. Together they used their clout to push the major corporations to promise a price premium, known as the “Living Income Differential,” to add US$400 per tonne to the cocoa price, with the extra revenue to be allocated solely for farmers.

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The higher price was intended to improve incomes by 20 to 30 per cent – but this was still far below the increase needed to escape poverty. And some of the corporations found loopholes to keep their costs down. When the price differential was introduced in 2019, they were temporarily able to reduce other parts of the price calculation, so that the net practice was almost as low as before. Some buyers have simply refused to pay the official price.

“This agreement was not respected by the big manufacturers,” Ivory Coast’s economy minister Adama Coulibaly told The Globe and Mail in an interview.

“It’s not normal that farmers get only 6 per cent of the revenue,” he said. “It’s really too low. We’re not happy that our farmers aren’t living a decent life. And consumers in the West also expect that the farmers should be fairly paid.”

The coalition with Ghana might be expanded to include other big producers such as Nigeria and Cameroon, he said. Already the coalition is trying to put pressure on the industry. Last October, the two West African countries boycotted a key meeting of the cocoa industry in Belgium. “It was an effective message, because all of the major companies were there,” Mr. Coulibaly said.

“We want to show them that they cannot just impose the price on us. Our people do the production and they need to live a decent life.”

How cocoa is produced

Cocoa is a jungle crop that thrives in only a handful of equatorial countries. The Dominican Republic is one of them. Here on the Cooproagro fair-trade farms near San Francisco de Macoris, pods are harvested from the trees on a rotating schedule based on the growth of individual pods. Then, it takes careful timing and effort to turn the beans inside into cocoa powder and other products chocolatiers depend on.

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In the back of a cavernous warehouse in the Dominican Republic’s agriculture belt, thousands of 70-kilo bags of cocoa beans sit piled nearly two storeys high.

This is all left over from a harvest last July. Cooproagro, one of the region’s farmer-owned co-operatives, can’t find any buyers willing to pay enough for the co-op to break even. So they are holding onto it for now, hoping market conditions improve.

“We are praying now to find a client,” says Joan Manuel Heredio, the warehouse manager.

Cooproagro’s farmers are comparatively well-off: most of the cocoa they produce is certified fair trade and organic, which fetches a higher price. But there aren’t always enough companies willing to pay the fair-trade premium. The surplus has to be sold as conventional cocoa at prices that follow the international commodities markets, where – as in West Africa – global chocolate giants ensure as little money as possible makes its way to the farmers.

Hence the pile of unsold beans in Cooproagro’s warehouse in San Francisco de Macoris, a city of 200,000 in cocoa-producing Duarte province.

“When the stock market price is really high, there are no buyers. When the price goes down, then we have buyers. It’s really bad right now,” says Ramon Emilio Perez Duarte, Cooproagro’s general manager. “Business, business, business. They’re trying to add, add, add to their own pockets.”

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The volatility has been exacerbated by climate change. Longer droughts have killed trees or led to smaller and drier cocoa pods, while increasingly intense hurricanes have damaged farms. Pandemic-related inflation has also hurt.

“Over the last three years, we’ve seen a tripling of the cost of living in the DR but really low cocoa prices. It doesn’t match any more,” says Leonardo Hernandez, the co-op’s vice-president.

In Ivory Coast, too, climate change is a further pressure for the impoverished farmers. “In my father’s time, there was plenty of rain,” says Mr. Angui, who inherited his small farm after his father’s death in 1993. “Now it’s dry. Without fertilizer or rain, you can’t have a good harvest.”

It all means an unpredictable life for cocoa farmers.

“There are years when the crop is bad and I have to ask for help from family. But sometimes it’s the opposite where, if I have a good year, I can help others in my family,” says Eusebio Lopez, 72, as he stands on his farm east of San Francisco de Macoris.

Mr. Lopez estimates he takes in about 110,000 Dominican pesos annually from the cocoa he grows on his three-hectare plot, of which about 40 per cent has to be spent covering farming costs. Most years, the remainder is just enough to cover water, electricity and telephone bills for him and his wife. They live in a bungalow made of a single layer of green planks nailed together, with curtains dividing the kitchen and living room.

Mr. Lopez supplements his income by growing breadfruit. He also grows oranges, plantains, yams, bananas and lipote, partly for sustenance and sometimes to sell.

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Miguilina Santos, meanwhile, gets by thanks to a large, multigenerational family. She and her husband live with their son, who works in construction, and five grandchildren, including one who recently opened a convenience store.

Ms. Santos, a 71-year-old former civil servant, started farming in retirement because her annual pension of 29,000 pesos – about $720 – wasn’t enough to live on. Even now, some years can be lean.

“We eliminate everything that’s not absolutely necessary – we buy no new clothes and if something has to be fixed around the house, we put it off. We just pay for food and school, the minimum just to survive,” she says. “And sometimes we go to the co-op for help, ask for a small loan as backup.”

Ms. Santos hopes that someone will keep the operation going when she retires for good, but she isn’t sure. “We keep encouraging our family to continue in this, but the honey isn’t always sweet,” she says.

Still, she says, Conacado and Cooproagro, the two fair trade co-ops, have helped improve conditions here. Fair trade and organic certifications – which the co-ops maintain by adhering to labour and environmental rules, such as not using either child labour or pesticides – earn higher rates of return. Standards are set by Fairtrade International, a consortium of non-profits, ensuring third-party verification that not all internal corporate sustainability programs have.

Selling through the co-ops also gives the farmers at least some market power to negotiate prices. Most farmers, by contrast, have to go through middlemen and have little guarantee they are getting a best price.

“We’re more aware what a kilo of cocoa is worth. They don’t cheat us, because we have our eyes open – we agree collectively on the price,” says Juan Tomas Brito, 63, a farmer and president of Conacado.

At Cooproagro, cocoa is fermented and dried before being sold to wholesalers. Conacado, meanwhile, runs its own factory, turning out cocoa powder, butter, nibs and liquor. These facilities have tracing systems meant to allow Fairtrade International and chocolate companies to track where the cocoa came from.

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“Of a final product, the return to the farmer is five or 10 per cent of its value. So the more we go up the chain, the more of the value goes to farmers and the more sustainable it is financially,” says Basilio Almonte, a Fairtrade official in the Dominican.

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For Antonio Ortiz-Ventura, the benefits have been tangible. Cooproagro uses the additional funds from selling through the fair trade system to pay his daughter’s school fees and buy her textbooks, and paid for Mr. Ortiz-Ventura to install doors and windows on his house.

“It’s been 100-per-cent change, joining the co-op, when you compare the two situations and the types of benefits and supports we get,” Mr. Ortiz-Ventura, 39, says. “Day-to-day, we manage to make a living.”

For now, the biggest hurdle for the co-operative model is that it represents just a small minority of farmers. Only about 30 per cent of the country’s cocoa is sold as fair trade, Mr. Almonte estimates. It relies largely on ethically-minded consumers in wealthier countries willing to pay a higher price for their chocolate, usually from niche companies.

It can also be difficult for farmers to comply with organic and fair trade standards. A new proposal from the European Union, for instance, would strip organic certification from co-ops that have more than 2,000 members and farms that have more than a few hectares.

The intent is to prevent larger farms and conglomerates from benefiting from higher prices meant to go directly to farmers. But Mr. Heredio, the Cooproagro warehouse manager, says it would actually mean diluting the market power that farmers have been trying steadily to build.

“There are more and more expectations on farmers, but not more commitment to buy our products,” Mr. Heredio says. “How do I tell a farmer they have to leave the co-op because Europe thinks they have too many hectares?”

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In West Africa, the cocoa industry has slowly introduced a patchwork of sustainability and certification programs, which provide small premiums to some farmers. But ordinary farmers such as Mr. Angui are unenthusiastic about these programs, saying they have not benefited from them.

Surveys support his complaint. The 2021 report by Fairtrade International, for example, shows that the fair trade premium has provided an income boost of less than 2 per cent for most farmers in the program in Ivory Coast – and many farmers did not even receive the promised payments.

At a warehouse in Akoupé, cocoa buyer Makki Saif talks about the high cost of his business – including security, since bandits armed with Kalashnikovs have begun hijacking his cocoa trucks and stealing cash from drivers on their way back from the sea port.

He complains that the certification schemes are too complicated and their administrative burden is too expensive, forcing him to abandon schemes in search of cheaper ones. He feels squeezed by rising costs, climate change and smaller harvests. “The taste of chocolate is sweet, but behind it is a lot of bitterness,” Mr. Saif says.

Analysts warn of the risk that certification schemes such as fair trade will be increasingly replaced by the corporate in-house sustainability programs of the multinational companies. “The companies’ own programmes are much less transparent than Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, potentially leading to a race to the bottom,” said the report by the Cocoa Barometer Consortium.

The consortium estimates that at least a third – perhaps even half – of all the global cocoa production is grown under some kind of certification label or corporate sustainability scheme. But this “has not led to the bar being raised,” it said. “Chocolate companies and retailers tend to look for the cheapest label.”

Because of the lack of transparency, most ordinary farmers are in the dark about how their payments are calculated. Ivory Coast farmers recall how their cocoa prices mysteriously improved during an election campaign in 2020, and then – equally mysteriously – declined when the election was over.

“I don’t know where the price is decided,” says Gilbert Yapo, a cocoa farmer near Akoupé. “Even if we ask, we won’t get an answer.”

The occasional price increases that they receive, he says, are quickly outweighed by their rising costs. The price of a 50-kilogram bag of fertilizer, for example, has increased by about 30 per cent in the past year, mainly because of the disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. The farmers in Ivory Coast buy fertilizer only when they can afford it. For some, this might be only once every three years.

Their poverty, too, is perpetuating the chronic problem of child labour. Unable to afford the cost of adult workers, many farmers send their children into the bush to work with cocoa. In Ivory Coast, near the town of Akoupé where Mr. Yapo has his farm, it doesn’t take long to see the evidence. On a weekday morning, when they should be in school, two small children sit on the forest floor, gathering cocoa pods into a pile for their father to split open for the beans inside.

Mr. Yapo, like his neighbour Mr. Angui, has had to cut back on rice meals as his living costs soared in recent months. “We’re not happy with our living conditions,” he says. “But we can’t do anything about it.”

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To ease the harsh poverty of most cocoa farmers, West African governments and civil society groups are working on several ideas. One is to strengthen the network of cocoa co-operatives and reduce the proliferating number of intermediaries, each of whom takes a slice of the money between the buyers and the farmers.

(Video) Fair trade in cocoa from the Ivory Coast

“We’re struggling to reorganize the co-ops, to make them the main channel between farmers and exporters,” said Bakary Traore, executive director of an Ivory Coast community group that works with the farmers.

He estimates that fewer than 200 of the 3,800 cocoa co-ops in the country are actively working to help farmers. Many of the rest are businesses seeking profits, which takes money away from the farmers, he said.

Another goal is to expand the processing of cocoa within West Africa, partly by establishing chocolate production in the region. The French chocolate company Cémoi set up a factory in Ivory Coast’s capital, Abidjan, in 2015. After several years of losses, the company finally made a profit last year, according to its general manager, Lona Ouali. If his factory can help create an African market for chocolate, this in turn could benefit the country’s farmers.

But so far, most of the factory’s output are semi-finished products, which are exported to Europe for use by chocolate factories there. Only a small percentage of its revenue – about 15 per cent – is from the sale of its own chocolate products, because the African market for chocolate remains tiny.

In the end, the biggest key to fighting poverty among cocoa farmers is to improve the price.

Here, too, the options are limited. African countries, with their hot climates, cannot afford to stockpile their cocoa in climate-controlled warehouses to control supply and drive up the price. Stockpiles are held mainly in Europe, and the global price of cocoa, as a commodity, is heavily influenced by speculators and global traders who acquire supplies and sell to the manufacturers.

“The reality is that the farmer has no connection to the end user,” said Alex Assanvo, executive secretary of the Ivory Coast-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), the governmental body that had earlier developed the US$400 living-income price premium.

“The traders are speculators who stockpile and play with the system,” he said. “The multinationals shift their buying strategy, based on the price. They buy wherever it is cheaper.”

The problem with the chocolate labels, with their claims of 100-per-cent sustainable cocoa, is that the manufacturers often cannot trace their cocoa back to an individual farmer, since their cocoa can be blended from many sources, he said.

“If the consumer believes that the companies know where the cocoa is coming from, they’re wrong,” Mr. Assanvo told The Globe in an interview. “Sustainability programs represent a very small amount of the global supply of cocoa. But the companies spotlight it, so everyone thinks it’s okay.”

Mr. Traore, the community group leader, is spearheading an initiative to boost transparency in the cocoa sector. “The labels on chocolate bars don’t reflect the reality of the situation,” he said.

“It’s marketing. I meet European friends who tell me they’re happy that the chocolate products are sustainable now. I tell them, ‘If I tell you the real situation, you will cry.’ We’re working in the field and we see the gap between the rhetoric and the reality.”

Yves Brahima Koné, director general of the Coffee and Cocoa Council, the state regulator in Ivory Coast, says the sustainability labels have concealed a lot of market manipulation on prices, including buyers who pay the farmers less than the officially agreed minimum.

“They make a lot of money from these sustainability programs,” he told The Globe. “Of course the consumers are deceived.”

The Globe sent a series of questions about cocoa prices and sustainability programs to several of the major manufacturers and the major industry group, the World Cocoa Foundation. The foundation did not respond.

When asked why their sustainability programs have failed to provide a living income for cocoa farmers, the major chocolate companies did not answer directly, instead pointing out what they are currently doing to support farmers, including educational programs and some direct payments. Hershey replied by saying it has a new “income accelerator” program in Ivory Coast and a long-term commitment to supporting higher incomes. Lindt, in its reply, said it spent $28-million on cocoa sustainability programs in 2021 and is also paying premiums of US$60 per tonne in Ghana on top of the US$400 “living income differential.” Addressing the poverty of farmers “needs the concerted, continued, compliant and honest efforts of untold numbers of stakeholders,” the company told The Globe.

Nestlé, in its response, cited an “income accelerator” program that it introduced last year, providing cash incentives of the equivalent of up to $750 per year for farmers to improve their productivity and to keep their children enrolled in school. The program began with 10,000 farmers in Ivory Coast and aims to reach 160,000 farmers by the end of the decade.

Nestlé also says that all of the cocoa in its chocolate products in Canada is sourced through its sustainability and certification programs, allowing the cocoa to be traced back to its origins in the supply chain. It acknowledged, however, that the tracing goes back only to co-ops, rather than individual farmers. And the company confirms that it still uses a blend of cocoa from various sources in many of its products worldwide. It says it is aiming to achieve full traceability, without blended sources, at some point in the future.

An academic study, published in January, found that 55 per cent of Ivory Coast’s cocoa exports are untraced and only 44 per cent can be traced back to a specific co-op or other supplier.

Faced with the realities of the global trading system, Ivory Coast and Ghana have been trying some tough new tactics – which eventually forced the chocolate manufacturers to the bargaining table.

The goal, according to Mr. Kone, is to increase the share of global cocoa revenue that reaches the producing countries, so that they get 13 per cent of the value, instead of the current share of less than 7 per cent.

Mr. Assanvo was one of the strategists behind the West African boycott of last October’s industry meeting in Belgium. The boycott caused “discomfort and confusion” for the industry, and helped bring them to negotiations, he told The Globe.

After the boycott, Ivory Coast and Ghana launched a dialogue with the chocolate manufacturers, seeking an agreement on pricing. But they also threatened to ban the companies from visiting cocoa farms to gather harvest data. And they hinted that they might stop participating in corporate sustainability schemes. This, in turn, would make it difficult for the chocolate companies to keep labelling their products as sustainable.

“What we said was very clear: any companies associated with discounts, or playing the market to make our countries suffer, will be suspended and they won’t be able to mention Cote d’Ivoire or Ghana in their communications,” Mr. Assanvo said.

“If they use the market against us, the only power we have is not at the market level, it’s at the physical level.”

Confronted by the threat of losing access to cocoa farms, and by a parallel effort at the European Union to consider new rules to improve the African cocoa supply chain, the industry agreed to join a task force with governments to talk about improved prices. Dialogue is well under way, and the talks are expected to reach decisions within the next several months, officials say.

“It was a good tactic,” Mr. Traore said. “Two years ago, a task force like this on market prices could not be imagined. But if there’s any change by the companies, it’s not because of their kindness. It’s because they don’t want to lose their markets and their public image.”

With a report from Luke Dyment.

The trip to the Dominican Republic was partly funded by Bigger than Our Borders, an NGO-supported initiative urging the Canadian government to increase foreign-aid programs. They did not review or approve the article.

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Why do cocoa farmers earn so little? ›

any cocoa farmers and their workers do not earn enough money for a decent life for themselves and their family. Reasons include the low wages workers get and the low prices smallholder farmers can charge.

How much of the world's chocolate comes from Africa? ›

Cocoa beans are the main ingredient for making chocolate. Cocoa beans are produced in tropical zones around the Equator, where climate conditions are well suited for growing cocoa trees. About 70 percent of the world's cocoa beans come from four West African countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.

How much is pay for a cocoa farmer in West Africa typically less than per day? ›

Our map demonstrates the massive role that cocoa may be playing in forest destruction in West Africa, including in protected areas. This is a complex problem, with no easy fix. Cocoa is grown by an estimated two million mostly small-scale farmers, who typically live below the poverty line on less than US$1 a day.

How much do African cocoa farmers get paid? ›

Millions of cocoa farmers work extremely hard, under gruelling conditions, yet do not earn a living income. On average, cocoa farmers earn just 6% of the final value of a bar of chocolate.

Why are cocoa farmers so poor in Africa? ›

Deforestation is also linked to higher poverty rates among the cocoa farming community, as people desperate for more income increase their farmland in a bid to sell more produce.

What are two main problems faced by cocoa farmers? ›

  • Low Productivity. Farmers often have limited knowledge of modern farming techniques and farm management skills as well as limited access to finance that would allow the purchase of input supplies and quality planting material. ...
  • Marketing Challenges. ...
  • Pests & Disease. ...
  • Environmental Concerns. ...
  • Access to Education.

What are three facts about chocolate farms in Africa? ›

There are an estimated 1.5 million cocoa farms in West Africa. Most cocoa–70 percent–hails from West Africa. Cocoa is raised by hand, on small, family-owned farms. Cacao leaves can move 90 degrees, from horizontal to vertical, to get sun and to protect younger leaves.

Which country consumes the most chocolate in the world? ›

Which Country Eats the Most Chocolate in the World? Switzerland is the country that is responsible for the most amount of chocolate consumed per capita. Even though there are certainly countries across the globe that consume more total chocolate than Switzerland, Switzerland consumes the most chocolate per person.

Where does most of the world's chocolate supply come from? ›

More than half of the world's cocoa comes from only two countries: the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The countries at the bottom (listed in green) produce less than a thousand metric tons of cocoa a year.

What are the problems with cocoa farmers? ›

These include farmer poverty, rampant deforestation, persistent child labor, frequent pesticide poisonings, and declining food and livelihood security.

How much does a cocoa farmer make per day? ›

The average cocoa farm will produce one or two tonnes of cocoa beans a year; one tonne is 16 sacks of cocoa. The average farmer will make between $1,400-$2,000 profit a year, at most about $5 a day, which will need to support 6-10 dependants.

Which African country is the largest product of cocoa? ›

Côte d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) is the largest producer of cocoa in the world, producing over 2 million tons a year. About 75 percent of the land in Côte d'Ivoire is suitable for growing crops, and almost half of its citizens work in agriculture, including many children.

Is cocoa farming profitable? ›

Starting a cocoa farm requires a significant investment in time and resources, but the returns are worth it. With proper care and management, cocoa farming can be a sustainable and profitable business venture.

Is cocoa farming sustainable? ›

Cocoa farmers usually clear tropical forests to plant new cocoa trees rather than reusing the same land. That practice has spurred massive deforestation in West Africa, particularly in Ivory Coast. Experts estimate that 70% of the country's illegal deforestation is related to cocoa farming.

Who is the best cocoa farmers in the world? ›

  • K. Badu Agrochemicals.
  • Louis Dreyfus Company Ghana.
  • Chobi Ghana.
  • Cargill Ghana Limited.
  • MEDA Ghana.
  • AMG Fertilizers Ghana Ltd.
  • Cocoa Touton Processing Company Ghana Limited.
  • Fairtrade Africa.
Dec 3, 2022

What major social problems does the chocolate industry cause in West Africa? ›

The farms of Western Africa and Brazil supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey's, Mars, and Nestlé as well as many small chocolate companies—revealing the industry's direct connection to the worst forms of child labor, human trafficking, and slavery.

Why doesn't Ghana make its own chocolate? ›

Cocoa farming requires tropical forestland. This is limited; it is not possible to keep expanding to new land to keep producing cocoa. So when the land is exhausted, farmers would benefit from diversifying to products like rubber and palm oil. They do not need to grow cocoa for its own sake.

Which African country is rich in chocolate? ›

70 percent of the world's cocoa is produced in Africa. The two biggest African players dominating the market are Cote d'Ivoire, which accounts for 40 percent of the worldwide volume output and Ghana, which represents about 20 percent of the total output.

What are the 4 issues caused by cocoa production? ›

Challenges in the cocoa sector
  • Poverty and inadequate living conditions. ...
  • Child labor in cocoa. ...
  • Deforestation and loss of biodiversity. ...
  • The threat of climate change. ...
  • Lack of access to finance and inadequate infrastructure.

What is the main problem for the people who work on cocoa plantations? ›

Children who work on cocoa plantations are exposed to hazards such as dangerous tools, dust, flames or smoke, chemicals, and/or physically demanding labor such as carrying heavy loads or spending many hours in the sun. Cocoa trees are grown on small, independent farms of fewer than 5 hectares.

What are two reasons for the decrease in supply of cocoa? ›

Africa – primarily the Ivory Coast and Ghana – is the largest global producer of cocoa, supplying just north of 70% of the world's cocoa. 12 Supply fluctuations are a result of a number of factors, from political and civil unrest to labor issues and the effect of weather, diseases, and pests on crop yields.

Where is the best chocolate from in Africa? ›

Côte d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer of cocoa. Each year it harvests more than two million tonnes of cocoa beans; this is around 40 per cent of the global crop.

What country grows the best chocolate? ›

To make the world's best chocolate, you have to start with the world's best cacao beans. Ecuador, a tiny country on the west coast of South America, produces a large portion of the finest cacao in the world. Only the top 5% of cacao in the world can claim the “fine aroma” label and Ecuador produces about 63% of it.

Who brought cocoa to Africa? ›

The credit of having first brought the cacao tree from the New World to the African tropics undoubtedly goes to the Portuguese. They are reputed to have planted cacao on the island of San Thome" (off French Gabon) as far back as 1822.

What does white stuff on chocolate mean? ›

If chocolate is heated to a high temperature, the cocoa butter inside melts and separates from the rest of the ingredients. It settles on the surface in a white coating. If there's excess moisture, it causes the sugar in the chocolate to crystalize, which gives it a white, speckled or spotted coating.

Which 2 countries grow the most cocoa? ›

Most cocoa is produced in West Africa

Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are by far the two largest cocoa growing countries, accounting for over 60 % of global cocoa production, followed by Ecuador with 7 %.

How many cocoa beans does it take to make a pound of chocolate? ›

Approximately 400 beans are required to make one pound of chocolate. The cacao tree is so fragile and its roots are so shallow that it is unsafe for workers to climb the trunk to reach pods on the higher boughs.

Can cocoa grow in the US? ›

Cocoa beans do indeed grow in the USA, but only in very limited areas. There is a narrow band known as the Cocoa Bet or the Chocolate Belt. That sounds more enticing that the Rust Belt or the Snow Belt!

Where does the US get most of its chocolate? ›

Cocoa beans

Americans import more cocoa from the African nation of Cote d'Ivoire than anywhere else. But as valuable as Americans may find the country's cocoa, it's even more valuable within the country's borders. In Cote d'Ivoire itself, cocoa is reportedly more valuable to the country's citizens than even gold.

Where does Hershey get their cocoa? ›

The cocoa used by our cocoa product suppliers comes from several countries, including Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Peru. The list of these farmer groups can be found on the interactive satellite map below.

What are the negative economic impacts of cocoa production? ›

The low productivity of cocoa farms creates a vicious circle where small producers' incomes fall, encouraging deforestation and moving them further away from access to already limited financing solutions.

Is cocoa production declining? ›

The latest report from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) reveals that cocoa processing activities for the first quarter of 2022/2023 have decreased in main cocoa-consuming regions in particular Europe, South-East Asia and North America.

What are the disadvantages of cocoa plantation? ›

There are attempts to replant cocoa trees on steep hillsides but because of this poor soil, landslides occur during the rainy season and further destroy the land. This leads to river sedimentation (where important or sensitive aquatic habitats can be lost) or to flooding of local communities.

Who buys the most cocoa? ›

Europe is the main global destination for cocoa bean exporters. Europe is the largest importer of cocoa beans worldwide, with 56% of global imports.

How much do African farmers make? ›

It found that profit from crop production alone (excluding data on livestock) ranged from only $86 per hectare per year in Burkina Faso to $1,184 in Ethiopia. The survey mean was $535 per hectare per year.

Where is the problem in the supply chain in chocolate? ›

Cocoa is the key ingredient in one of the world's most popular sweets – chocolate. The most salient issues in cocoa supply chains include the use of child labor and expansion of cocoa production into protected forest reserves.

Who is the largest consumer of cocoa? ›

When it comes to the league of chocoholics, Switzerland is out in front with annual per capita consumption amounting to an impressive 11.6 kilograms in 2021.

What is the best quality cocoa in the world? ›

Porcelana, the purest form of criollo cocoa, and the Nacional, a type of forastero cacao bean, are both considered to be some of the best cocoa beans in the world.

Which country exports the most cocoa? ›

In 2021, Top exporters of Cocoa beans; whole or broken, raw or roasted are Ecuador ($819,457.18K , 329,784,000 Kg), Nigeria ($560,101.83K , 366,286,000 Kg), Netherlands ($408,854.46K , 155,917,000 Kg), Malaysia ($279,953.02K , 104,461,000 Kg), Dominican Republic ($203,812.91K , 46,537,200 Kg). Congo, Dem. Rep.

How much chocolate does 1 cacao tree make? ›

Cacao trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and produce large pods that are the color and shape of small footballs. These pods contain 30 to 50 seeds—enough to make about two dark chocolate or seven milk chocolate bars!

How many years does it take cocoa to grow? ›

Growing a cacao tree — the plant whose pods are made into chocolate — takes patience. It takes three to five years for a cacao seed to become a fruiting tree.

Why is cocoa a cash crop? ›

A “cash crop,” cocoa farming accounts for a substantial percentage of family income in many countries. Farmers benefit from the global market for the crop and the cacao tree's ability to work well with other crops that peak at differ- ent times of the year.

Does Hershey's use sustainable cocoa? ›

Through our holistic cocoa sustainability strategy, Cocoa for Good, we're nourishing children, empowering youth, helping communities prosper and preserving ecosystems. Our Cocoa For Good strategy is at the heart of our sustainable cocoa work.

What is the waste of chocolate production? ›

The cacao pod husk is the part left over after the harvest of cacao beans. For each ton of cacao beans produced, 10 tonnes of pod husks are discarded as waste. The husk makes up to 70-80% of the weight of the cacao fruit.

Do cocoa farmers eat chocolate? ›

“We take two cases full of chocolate every time we go there,” Schoenmakers says. “It's ridiculous so many cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate in their lives. It's a luxury they will normally never taste.

Where is the biggest cocoa farm in the world? ›

A - Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa producer of the world with more than 2 million tons every year.

What is the difference between cocoa and cacao? ›

Cacao vs. Cocoa. While cacao refers to cacao beans that have not been roasted, what is called cocoa is made of beans that have been roasted. So, in turn, a product that is labeled cacao is the raw bean and is often packaged as vegan chocolate that has been minimally processed with no additives.

Where is cocoa grown the most? ›

More than half of the world's cocoa comes from only two countries: the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The countries at the bottom (listed in green) produce less than a thousand metric tons of cocoa a year.

How much should cocoa farmers get paid? ›

The average cocoa farm will produce one or two tonnes of cocoa beans a year; one tonne is 16 sacks of cocoa. The average farmer will make between $1,400-$2,000 profit a year, at most about $5 a day, which will need to support 6-10 dependants.

Are cacao farms profitable? ›

A typical cocoa farm produces one or two tonnes of cocoa beans per year, with one tonne containing sixteen sacks of cocoa beans. On average, farmers can expect to earn between $1,400 and $2,000 per year, with the majority of that money coming from about $5 per day.

What do farmers make the most money from? ›

Using Livestock to Make Money Farming. Livestock is probably the most common way farmers make money from their land. And while animals have a few more expenses and a higher overhead, they usually bring in top dollar in terms of net income. Here are just some of the ways you can make money with livestock.

Who sells the most chocolate in the world? ›

Leading chocolate manufactures worldwide 2021

The U.S. company Mars Wrigley Confectionery was the top chocolate company in the world in 2021, beating its competitors by more than five billion U.S. dollars in net sales.

Who is the #1 cocoa producer? ›

Côte d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) is the largest producer of cocoa in the world, producing over 2 million tons a year. About 75 percent of the land in Côte d'Ivoire is suitable for growing crops, and almost half of its citizens work in agriculture, including many children.

How many hours a day do cocoa farmers work? ›

Child laborers on cocoa farms work long hours, with some being forced to work up to 14 hours a day. Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests. Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete.

Why is cacao so hard to grow? ›

Cacao Care. Cacao trees are not easy to grow, especially if you want to cultivate them outside of their natural environment. Occasionally growers keep them as houseplants. But it is very difficult to provide them with the proper light and humidity levels indoors, and they often won't ever produce seed pods.

How sustainable is cacao farming? ›

With the addition of the environmental welfare of sustainable cacao farming, cacao seeds don't need to be replanted. This leads to less amount of topsoil loss without any ecological damage. Research says that organic farming has led to higher diversification of shade trees.

How many pounds of chocolate will 1 cacao tree produce each year? ›

Approximately 400 beans yield one pound of finished chocolate. So, one cacao tree produces only about nine pounds of chocolate per year.

Who is the best cocoa farmer? ›

Mr Bismark Fuachie from Sefwi Asafo in the Western North Region has emerged as the 2022 National Best Cocoa Farmer.


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