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How climate change affects chocolate processing and manufacturing

Climate change is a vicious cycle.

For example, in the chocolate industry, deforestation happens all the time to clear land for cocoa plantations. This is helping climate change move along faster.

But here’s the thing. They’re making room for more cocoa plantations through deforestation. The climate change that occurs from deforestation is hurting overall cocoa and chocolate manufacturing.

Cacao needs humidity (aka rain) to grow. With the heat rising, there needs to be more rainfall, but there isn’t. The amount of rainfall has remained the same, or lessened, whereas the heat keeps rising.

Here’s an example of how the rising heat is affecting cocoa manufacturing in Ghana during the 2015-2016 farming season:
“The Harmattan winds that blow across Ghana from the Sahara Desert between late November and mid-March came early. The drying winds and low rainfall resulted in a poor harvest and withered cacao pods — a preview of how cocoa will respond to a drier, hotter world.” (Source)

What’s more, suitable land for cocoa farming is dwindling. Cocoa is typically farmed within the cocoa belt, which is farmland within 20º of the equator. The land farmed grows smaller due to the rising heat and other causes. Especially in West Africa which accounts for about 70% of overall cocoa processing and manufacturing.

Overall, cocoa produced in deforested areas are producing less and less.

Sustainable farming practices are important to ensure we continue producing and delighting in chocolate. The health of our planet and the safety of our future are at stake as well.

Agroforestry is a sustainable way to farm cocoa. This is a practice that allows cacao plants to be grown under the shade of rainforest trees. This provides them with shade, less exposure to wind and soil erosion, and allows them to grow without deforestation.

It’s a practice we take to heart at Le Chocolat des Iles.

Through agroforestry, we can preserve natural resources in an environmentally friendly manner. This way we are able to share delectable, pure chocolate from around the world with YOU.

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