© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2017

Global chocolate shortage by 2030

Heath McIldowie
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The Future looks bleak

I’m sorry to inform all of you chocolate lovers out there, (so all of you) that our guilty pleasure is going the way of the kiwi, not extinct just rare. The worst thing about this situation is, it's all our fault. We just love chocolate too much and supply can’t meet the demand.

So, let’s start at the bottom the main and crucial ingredient to chocolate is the Cacao bean which comes from the Cacao Tree. The Cacao tree is notoriously difficult to grow. To begin with, they can only be grown in tropical rainforest environments. Cacao is mainly grown in Latin America, South America and Indonesia, with most of the crop originating from Africa. More than half the world’s Cacao supply comes from the Ivory Coast and Ghana alone. Along with being picky about its environment, the tree is extremely vulnerable to harsh sunlight and strong winds, so it must be grown in the shade of larger trees. They are also highly susceptible to pests and disease. In Ghana Cacao trees suffer from black pod rot, water mould, and the swollen shoot virus. In Indonesia and Malaysia, a small moth called the Cacao Pod Borer tunnels into the pods and eats them from the inside before tunnelling out. In Brazil, a fungal infection called witches’ broom is wreaking havoc on cacao production forcing families who have grown chocolate for generations to abandon their farms and move into shanty towns. These unfortunate factors account for the destruction of one-third of the world’s potential crop and it’s not getting any better.  

As if all of this wasn’t already bad enough in one year the average Cacao tree only grows 30 pods, which contain roughly a thousand seeds, which would make just under a KG of Chocolate. So, you’d think with all the exceptional care and maintenance required to grow Cacao the farmers would be duly compensated, however that’s not how the world works. The average Cacao farmer earns less than one US dollar a day. This is causing farmers to abandon their trees for more lucrative crops such as rubber and even cocaine.

Chocolate is to loved to go forever but the days of $1 chocolate bars are going to be a thing of the past. The future looks very bleak for chocolate and it sucks.