Cacao sorter

Climate change is likely to cause chocolate to melt—not only in your hands, but right out of production—according to a new study released by scientists at CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) titled “Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on the Cocoa-Growing Regions in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.”

Price and supply are going to be affected by rising global temperatures, and small farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire—home to approximately 70 percent of the world’s chocolate production—will feel the effects of the one degree rise in temperature expected by 2030, which CIAT’s scientific experts say will have the ability to drastically thwart the growth of West African cocoa pods, limiting supply and increasing prices significantly.

From CIAT’s website, the report’s lead author, Peter Laderach, says that while the findings are severe, “[P]reparation is the name of the game. There is a lot that farmers, governments, scientists – and key players in the cocoa supply chains – can do to help protect and improve cocoa production. But these measures need to be implemented very quickly.”

Improved irrigation and planting shade trees to help the cocoa retain more water are some of the recommended improvements farmers can begin making, along with more research, says CIAT.

According to the World Cocoa Foundation, there are 5-6 million cocoa farmers worldwide, with more than 40 million people depending on cocoa for their livelihood, currently producing an average of 3 million tons of cacao products per year at an estimated global market value of $5.1 billion annually.

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Image: benketaro