Over 95% of the world’s cocoa is grown by small scale farmers. Africa remains the largest cocoa producing region, accounting for over two thirds of the world cocoa output. Cocoa farming is a labour intensive and demanding process that is difficult to mechanize.
The cocoa pods are collected and broken, and the beans extracted with their covering of sweet sticky mucilage. They are then fermented and dried – usually in the sun.
When the beans have been dried to some 7% moisture content, they are bagged and transported to buying sheds or are collected by local buyers that visit the cocoa villages, and who pass the beans up the supply chain to the processing or export point.
The cocoa beans now pass through the hands of exporters, processors and chocolate manufacturers.
It takes 500 beans to make one pound of chocolate – knowing that a tree produces on average 1000 beans/year, each tree produces annually beans for only two pounds of chocolate. Although cocoa is largely produced in developing countries, it is mostly consumed in industrialized counties.
The cocoa supply chain is long and intransparent. In order for the cocoa farmers to achieve a better commercial benefit, all groups that are involved in this supply chain have to collaborate more effectively.
Download the factsheet – Cocoa, From trees to treats