Tag Archive: cacao farms

Chocolate Just Made the Endangered Foods List

With the holidays just around the corner, chocolate goodies and candies span as far as the eye can see.

In the grocery store, we stroll past red and green colored chocolates in all our favorite varieties. We’re busily searching for recipes to bring to our neighborhood bake swap, or fantasizing about the goodies grandma has in store for us this year.

Can you imagine a holiday without chocolate? If you think that would simply be the end of the world, you might want to stock up on your favorites, because we’re in for a chocolate shortage.

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Cacao seedlings growing on Oahu are wrapped in plastic to protect the seedlings from the Chinese Rose Beetle.

Growing Cacao on American Soil

Did you know that there is an increasing amount of high quality cacao being grown in the United States?

We know there is a massive amount of chocolate being produced in the US, but until recently, there were no cacao trees being grown on American soil, and all chocolate being made in the US was made from imported cocoa beans. That is slowly changing.

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Chocolate Losing To Cocaine?

Colombia is often viewed as a large supplier of narcotic drugs to the USA. It turns out that cocaine has surpassed chocolate as being the more "in demand" product from that country.

Part of the problem is that cocoa bean prices have really hit a downward spiral, dropping 40% in 2012 alone from Columbia which is the third-largest supplier in South America. While the prices for cocaine has been rather constant and stable, as stated by both the police and growers alike.
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Mars Chocolate Meets Cocoa Supply Needs

One of the most prominent chocolate manufacturers around the world is Mars Chocolate. It has recently announced that it is keeping up with its 2009 pledge to purchase 100% of their cocoa from certified sustainable sources by 2020.

The company recently revealed that it successfully purchased 10 percent of its cocoa reserves as a certified sustainable source in 2011 (as certified by the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ) .

In 2012 it expects to  exceed their target of 20 percent, establishing themselves as the largest user of certified cocoa in the world. Solely based upon current purchasing trends and deals, the company has envisioned that they can purchase up to 90,000 tons of certified cocoa from sources all over the globe this year.
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Technology on the Cacao Farm

More than 100,000 cacao farmers in Ghana will take advantage of the application of mobile phone text messaging, as well as voice mail, to gain access to information in an effort to enhance the production of cacao.

The program is called Cocoa Link. It is an attempt of the Hershey Company, a pioneer in the world of chocolate and sugar confectionery, to improve cacao farming. They work hand in hand with the World Cocoa Foundation and the Ghana COCOBOD.

According to Andrew McCormick, vice-president in-charge of Public Affairs at Hershey, farmers will be given relevant information regarding the best practices in cacao cultivation to be able to increase the production.
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The Largest Cacao Producing Countries

Cacao is cultivated mainly in the lands of Asia, Central and South America, as well as in West Africa. The largest cacao producing countries are Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia. Such countries account for a huge percentage of the total worldwide production of cacao.

During the beginning of 1970, growing of cacao was almost exclusively done in countries like Brazil and Nigeria as well as Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Today, the cultivation of cacao has widened its horizons and has reached certain areas like the Pacific region, in which you can observe remarkable growth rates in terms of producing cacao with countries such as Indonesia.
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A Global Chocolate Shortage?

Devastatingly, there has been a global shortage of cocoa beans. And this might be the reason for the skyrocketing of the price of chocolate in the near future.

Chocolate makers are thinking of different helpful strategies that can remedy the situation such as upping the amount of nuts, fillers, or any other ingredients just to bulk out chocolate candies.

The reasons behind this demand are said to be the rise in the popularity of cocoa in China, the spread of awareness about the many health benefits of chocolate, and the constant and rising demand for dark chocolate.
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Chocolate Chemistry

This is officially the International Year of Chemistry 2011 brought to you by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Chemistry is essential for our future and an improved quality standard of living for everyone. 

What does this have to do with chocolate?
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Vietnam Cacao Production

Here's an update on cacao sourced from Vietnam...

Back in October of 2010, I wrote in my blog about the introduction of a limited edition of Scharffen Berger 72% Vietnamese single-origin chocolate bar.

Now, a Belgian chocolate manufacturer has launched the first ever, 100% Vietnamese chocolate available for wholesale, a new business-to-business operation.

Vietnam is new to cacao production.  Plantations have had many setbacks over the years, but since 2005 the production has increased. 
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Disturbing Cacao News

The instability of the government has fostered an active smuggling operation of cacao out of Ivory Coast and into neighboring Ghana.

It is being speculated that many thousands of metric tons of cocoa beans have been smuggled to Ghana from Ivory Coast since the harvest began in October.  

I recently read a Bloomberg article updating the situation in the Ivory Coast.  To jog your memory, a recent blog post of mine titled, Two Presidents of Ivory Coast, introduced the political situation in the largest cacao producing African country of Ivory Coast.
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