The thought of chocolates growing scarce is terrifying for many and experts say that running out of supply is a possibility. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the rise of temperature of just 2.1C over the next 30 years due to global warning is a catastrophe for plants and with it, the chocolate industry.
Can you imagine a world without chocolate?
Chocolates come from cacao plants, which grow only within approximately 20 degrees north and south of the Equator.
High humidity and abundant rain are conditions needed for the cacao plants to survive.
As the heat increases and dries out soil and plants, the rainfall may not be enough to make up for the moisture lost from them. This may lead to cacao production being forced to make do with mountainous terrain thousands of feet uphill.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – countries that produce more than half of the world’s chocolate supply – may have to choose between preserving the world’s chocolate supply or rescue their dying ecosystems.
People in developing countries have been buying more chocolate than usual, which led experts to predict last year taht the world may be on its way to a “chocolate deficit.” According to the research titled Destruction by Chocolate, the typical Western consumer eats an average of 286 chocolate bars a year. Those from Belgium tend to eat more than that.
Producers need to plant 10 cacao trees to produce the cocoa and the butter needed for 286 bars of chocolate.
Doug Hawkins of London-based research firm Hardman Agribusiness 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 per cent of the global cocoa crop is produced by smallholders on subsistence farms with unimproved planting material.”
There are reports saying that cocoa growers in the Ivory Coast, the top producer of cocoa in the world, have resorted to illegal farming in protected forests to keep up with the demand.
“All the indicators are that we could be looking at a chocolate deficit of 100,000 tonnes a year in the next few years,” Hawkins added.