Climate Change Likely to Hit Chocolate
Like chocolate? You may want to enjoy it now, before climate change renders it an unaffordable luxury.
As temperatures rise, suitable growing regions for cocoa will become smaller and less available, according to a recent study released by International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). As soon as 2030, cocoa plants are predicted to take a hit.
Nearly half of the world’s chocolate comes from West African farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). For many of the smallholder farmers in these regions, cocoa is the primary source of income. “The [cocoa] trees play an absolutely critical role in rural life,” says CIAT’s Dr. Peter Laderach, the report’s lead author.
While theoretically farmers could follow the ideal growing climate to higher altitudes, that’s not much of an option in these regions. “The problem is that much of West Africa is relatively flat and there is no ‘uphill’. This is a major cause of the potentially drastic decreases in cocoa suitability in the region,” continued Laderach.
Farmers in these at-risk areas are advised to create more shade-protected areas to create a more suitable habitat for the cocoa. The report also urges farmers to diversify crop production, as insurance for any crop failures.
Climate change and variations in weather have already affected peanuts, wine grapes, pumpkins and coffee beans.