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Cocoa

Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) leads the world in production and export of the cocoa beans used in the manufacture of chocolate, as of 2012, supplying 33% of cocoa produced in the world. West Africa collectively supplies two thirds of the world’s cocoa crop, with Ivory Coast leading production at 1.65 million tonnes, and nearby Ghana, Nigeria,Cameroon and Togo producing additional 1.55 million tonnes. Ivory Coast overtook Ghana as the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans in 1978. The primary non-African competitor of Ivory Coast is Indonesia, which went from having almost nonexistent domestic cocoa industry in the 1970s to becoming one of the largest producers in the market by the early 2000s. According to the UN FAO, Indonesia overtook Ghana and became the second-largest producer worldwide in 2006.

The Plant

Cocoa is shade-loving tree native to the understory of rainforests, growing at low elevation in the foothills of the Andes, and the great South American equatorial river basins the Amazon River Basin, and the Orinoco River Basin. The tree is a choice crop for areas of West Africa with low to slight elevations, good soils, and the constant humidity of the tropics.