Let me cut straight to the point for the sake of chocolate lovers: in 20 years you might be left to dream about chocolate. Or even worse – you might be in the position to remember its taste without having the chance to try it! Yes, chocolate could become obsolete quite soon and the reason for this loss will be global warming.
More than half of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa and apart from bringing us pleasure, it is vital for farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire who rely on growing cocoa to survive – it accounts for 70-100% of household incomes of cocoa farmers in both countries and any climate change will not only affect their incomes, but national economies as well.
According to a recent report by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture between 2030 and 2050 the land suitable for cocoa production will diminish considerably if temperatures continue to rise with the same pace. And the fact that the cocoa in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire is grown using sustainable practices with ecological, biological and economic benefits will not change things for the better.
The report, funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, states that the predicted rise of temperatures might simply move the areas of cocoa production to land in higher altitudes which is currently unsuitable but in the meantime, the impact on cocoa industry is predicted to be severe.
As Peter Laderach, the report’s lead author points out, the problem is that much of West Africa is flat, which will lead to drastic decreases of cocoa production in the region. A one-degree Celsius temperature rise by 2030 will inhibit the development of cocoa pods, which could dramatically reduce yields and send prices sky rocketing.
According to CIAT’s news release, the effect of climate change can already be noticed:
Already we’re seeing the effects of rising temperatures on cocoa crops currently produced in marginal areas, and with climate change these areas are certain to spread. At a time when global demand for chocolate is rising fast, particularly in China, there is already upward pressure on prices. It’s not inconceivable that this, combined with the impact of climate change, could cause chocolate prices to increase sharply.
Other products reportedly affected by climate change include French wine, Italian pasta, West African cashew, Latin American beans and maize.
So, what else do you need to start REALLY thinking about climate change and take action?