The MOST important people in the chocolate chain
The current global chocolate market is worth $93 billion, so you can see how important and valuable chocolate is to everyone involved!! WOW – Now that is a lot of Dark Chocolate!
The main growing regions of Cocoa are Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The largest producing country is Côte d’Ivoire, which produces around 40% of the worlds supply.
Cocao Farming facts:
The average age of a cocao farmer is 50. Poor pay and limited career options have left the next generation seeking other vacations.
The introduction of the fairtrade initiative ensures cocao farmers are paid a fair price for their crops
Ecuador Cocao farmers have been cultivating the crop for nearly 4000 years and due to their impeccable and complex flavour the beans are craved by RAW chocolate makers.
If the cocao bean takes longer than 7 days to dry, farmers risk mould contamination and their crop could be ruined. 3 – 6 days is the ideal drying time for cocao beans to reach their optimum flavour.
The typical cocao farmer will spend their time; inspecting for pests, pruning and composting.
There has been a recent increase in women Cocao farmers; training and investment are giving women the tools they need to learn this delicate craft. Women are the cocao farmers of the next generation.
It is believed almost all of the worlds cocao is produced by poor families on small plots of land.
Future PROOF Chocolate!
Let us get serious for a second!
The Fairtrade movement has helped many cocao bean farmers get PAID fairly and move away from the extreme poverty they have lived in.
BUT increased pressure on Cocao farmers to meet global demand will be the next biggest challenge.
Thankfully Chocolate makers are taking the responsibility to invest in cocao farmers.
Investment and responsibility of care will hopefully continue long into the future.
Next time you are enjoying a piece of dark chocolate, take time to think about the Cocao farmers who have spent time growing and harvesting the magic beans for your Chocolate.