By UN Environment
Bamba Ibrahim, a 35-year-old cocoa farmer in Agboville in the Ivory Coast grew up in a family of cocoa farmers, helping his family with the farm while going to school. But When he was 15, he started farming full-time. Today, his cocoa beans are worth than a few years ago, as the price of cocoa has dropped. “Of course, I wish I had more land so I could plant more cocoa and make more income,” he says.
The failure of current models of cocoa production
The chocolate business is one of the largest in the world. In 2015, the global market for cocoa amounted to approximately US$100 billion. West Africa accounts for 70 per cent of global cocoa production, supplied by smallholder farmers like Ibrahim. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the largest producers. In Côte d’Ivoire, cocoa production and trade represent 40 per cent of export revenues and employs 8 million people, almost one third of the country’s population.
One serious issue with cocoa production in West Africa is the systematic decline of the quality and quantity of cocoa yields. Over the years, extensive cultivation practices have led to ever-increasing expansion of cocoa areas, deterioration of soil quality and decreasing crop yields. This has resulted in large-scale deforestation and the deterioration of soil quality in Côte d’Ivoire. Over 80 per cent of the country’s forests have disappeared since 1960. Côte d’Ivoire used to be a world biodiversity hotspot of great biological richness and species diversity, but deforestation has put that at risk as animals are rapidly losing their last habitat—including elephants, pygmy hippos, flying squirrels, pangolins, leopards and crocodiles. Read more>>