Cocoa is grown in a variety of climates, including tropical and subtropical regions. The regions where cocoa is most commonly grown are Africa and Central and South America. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the largest cocoa growing countries, followed by Ecuador, Cameroon, and Nigeria. These regions have warm climates with plenty of rainfall, which are ideal for growing cocoa crops.
The cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate are harvested from the pods that grow on the cocoa tree. The cocoa tree grows best in moist, warm climates with ample rainfall. The trees need at least four or five months of steady rainfall each year in order to produce a good crop of cocoa beans.
A variety of pests and diseases can affect cocoa crops, including armyworms, bollworms, leaf miners, and frosty pod rot. Farmers must be vigilant in watching for these pests and diseases and take steps to protect their crops from them.
Pests and diseases can reduce the yield of cocoa crops, making it more difficult for farmers to make a profit. Low prices for cocoa beans can also make it difficult for farmers to earn a living from growing cocoa. And lack of access to good farming practices can make it more difficult for farmers to improve the quality of their cocoa crops.
Climate Change is Affecting Cocoa Farmers
Cocoa farmers are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, including increased temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and more extreme weather events. These impacts are making it more difficult for cocoa farmers to grow cocoa trees and produce sellable cocoa beans.
Climate change is also increasing the risk of pests and diseases affecting cocoa crops, which could lead to lower yields and higher costs for cocoa farmers. All of these risks could have serious consequences for the cocoa industry and the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, making the likelihood of cocoa prices increasing for the foreseeable future. Worst of all, some regions may no longer be suitable for cocoa farming, decimating the local economies of these areas as one of their main sources of income.
The Cocoa Harvesting Process
1. Cocoa pods are harvested by hand
2. The pods are cut from the cocoa tree with a sharp knife
3. The pods are then opened and the cocoa beans are extracted
4. The cocoa beans are dried and then roasted
5. The roasted cocoa beans are then ground into a powder
6. The powder is used to make chocolate