Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chocolate Lovers Need to Care about The Ivory Coast

I hope you've all seen in the various news outlets that the Ivory Coast is going through some political problems revolving around their last national elections but certainly not limited to them.

From: http://www.afdb.org/uploads/pics/map_africa_western.gif

The Ivory Coast or the Republic of the Cote D'Ivoire is a West African coastal country.  Here's a map of the general area if you aren't sure where it is.

So some country in Africa, where most of you do not live, I'm guessing, Sisters and Brothers, has some political troubles.  Why should you care?  Aside from the fact that it might be a good human quality to care about others regardless of where they live or that our globe is actually growing smaller in terms of governmental and political actions, our Cult is really the reason you all might want to care a bit more.

The Ivory Coast produces about 43% of the world's cocoa.  43% making it the leader by an amazing percentage.  The Ivory Coast produces 2.78 times the amount of cocoa from Indonesia which is #2 in every list of cacao producing countries I could find.

We've talked before on The Chocolate Cult about the role of piracy in the price of chocolate and piracy is not decreasing at all as far as my scanning of news and cocoa organization reports can show. Remember piracy not only steals cocoa but also introduces disease and insects into new ecosystems that will harm crops plus captured cocoa booty is most often destroyed and simply removed from the market all together.

Hording in The Ivory Coast in 2010 preceded a jump in cocoa prices, a jump you may or may not have noticed.  Many of the chocolatiers I spoke with in the past year said they were struggling because they worried about rising prices and losing sales yet the materials needed to make their products was going up -- sugar as well by the way.

Now imagine what might happen if political struggles turned large scale and foreign or native military forces started fighting in the country.  We might hope they'd know the value of the plantations but let me tell you that agricultural land throughout history is often a target of armies and smaller forces because it seems like a sound tactic to weaken the other side through limiting their food or their income.  Of course, a military might decide to control rather than destroy.

Either way, chocolate prices go up.

I don't want to sound the alarm as some news articles have by bemoaning this idea that chocolate will cost $100 a 2oz bar within the century. I think that scientific developments, greater understanding of cacao plants, and changing climate conditions might have decreased The Ivory Coast's lead a bit but I think you all best be prepared to pay more for your chocolate in the next decade or so before new countries or increased crops from other areas develop. 

This is why it is important to read blogs or reviews like The Chocolate Cult.  You'll get an idea of what you should or might want to spend money on before you do.  We pledge to never take money for or reviews so that you are assured that we will provide you with as much full sensory information in as unbiased a fashion as we can in our "Saturday Sacraments" and our "Special Sacramental Reviews".   Other reviews will also be as unbiased as we can though they are unlikely to be as sensory descriptive.

So now is the time to start following us, commenting, and getting those you care about to read us, too.  We are going to save you money and help you make the best decisions about chocolate.  That's part of our mission here on The Chocolate Cult.

A large part of today's post was made possible by the following sources:

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I cannot imagine a world without chocolate. I am hoping for a better outcome.

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