Experts are predicting that the world will run out of chocolate in nearly 40 years since the cacao plants are struggling to survive in the warm climate. The trees can grow in 20 degrees on north and south of the equator. They can grow under specific conditions that include high humidity and excessive rains. However, the 2.1-degree rise in the temperature in the next 30 years due to global warming will cause a serious damage to plants and hence, to the chocolate industry worldwide.
As the temperature rises and evaporates more water from soil and plants. It is unlikely that the rainfall will also increase with the rising temperature to cater for the moisture lost from the earth. The cacao production areas will need to be shifted to many feet uphill into the mountain which is preserved for wildlife by 2050.
The heads of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the countries which produce 75% of world’s chocolate will face the issue of whether to save the world’s chocolate or save the dying ecosystem. Last year, experts predicted that the world will soon face chocolate deficiency as the consumption in some developing countries was very high. A typical consumer in West eats about 286 chocolate bars a year.
To produce 286 chocolate bars, 10 cacao trees are needed to make cacao and butter. Since 1990 till now, billions of people have entered the market for cacao from China, Indonesia, India, Brazil and the Soviet Union. Supply has not been up to the mark to match the increased demand.
A London-based research firm Hardman Agribusiness’ spokesman, Doug Hawkins said that the production of cacao in under stress since the farming methods did not change for more than hundred years. He said, “Unlike other tree crops that have benefited from the development of modern, high yielding cultivars and crop management techniques to realize their genetic potential, more than 90 percent of the global cocoa crop is produced by smallholders on subsistence farms with unimproved planting material.”
Some reports also suggest that Ivory Coast, which is the top producer of cacao, is farming illegal forests to meet the demand. Hawkins calls it ‘destruction by Chocolate.’ He said, “All the indicators are that we could be looking at a chocolate deficit of 100,000 tonnes a year in the next few years.”