Top 10 cocoa-producing countries in the world
10 | Dominican Republic
The second-largest island in the Caribbean (second only to Cuba), the Dominican Republic produced about 68,021 tonnes of cocoa beans in 2013, according to World Atlas. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that this generated the country approximately $214mn in revenue. The types of cocoa bean produced in the Dominican Republic are generally of two types: Sanchez, or Hispaniola. World Atlas reports that until 2009, it was the leading exporter of “Fairtrade-certified” cocoa and remains highly rated. According to the UNDP, 85% of cocoa in the country is farmed by small-scale farmers, and, in 2015, the government signed an agreement that would lead to jobs for 40,000 farmers directly, and for 350,000 people across the country indirectly.
9 | Mexico
Despite demand for chocolate increasing in recent years, cocoa-production in Mexico fell approximately 50% between 2001 and 2009, according to Geo-Mexico. With the main cocoa-production taking place in Tabasco, which has been such since the time of the Olmecs 3,000 years ago, Mexico produces 82,000 tonnes of beans yearly. Currently, World Atlas reports that the country imports more cocoa than it exports, pointing to diseases such as frosty pod as one of the reasons for the diminished crop. However, in 2012 Hershey launched a $2.8mn initiative to help treat dry rot and revitalise the Mexican cocoa industry, although long term results are yet to be perceived.
8 | Ecuador
Archaeological studies have found that Ecuador could be home to the oldest cocoa industry, with cocoa beans produced 5,000 years ago. The cocoa bean quality is considered by many experts to be the best in the world and until the 20th century, Ecuador was the leading producer of cocoa beans. Although it has been surpassed by other Latin and West African countries, it still produces an impressive 128,446 yearly tonnes of cocoa, according to World Atlas. All considered, Anecocoa (Ecuador’s national association of cocoa exporters) reports that Ecuadorian cocoa beans only compromise 5% of the world total.
7 | Peru
According to Andina, a Peruvian newspaper, the main cocoa-production areas, which make up 96% of Peru’s national output, are in San Martin, Cusco, Junin, Ucayali, Juanuco, Ayacucho, and Amazones. In 2015, according to the same source, Peru saw a rise in cocoa production by 13.7% to 95,000 tonnes. It then broke both record production and record hectares of cocoa-plantations the following year with 108,000 tonnes of cocoa, and 129,842ha. According to Confectionary News, 90% of Peruvian cocoa is exported. Andina places the benefit of the cocoa industry as producing 9.9mn workdays, for 90,000 families directly, and 480,000 people indirectly.
6 | Nigeria
Between 2013 and 2014, Nigeria increased cocoa production from 367,000 tonnes to 421,300, according to World Atlas. The growth was made possible by innovations and increased availability of agricultural technology, as well as a rise in world cocoa price and demand. However, in 2015, the country saw a drastic decrease in production, moving it from the fourth largest producer of cocoa beans to the sixth, with an output of 150,000 tonnes. Before the discovery of oil in Nigeria in the 1960s, the crop made up 50% of the country’s export. CNBC reports that favourable weather conditions might be beneficial to the industry, bumping up its production for the year to between 300,000 and 320,000 tonnes.
5 | Brazil
Although still the largest cocoa producer in the Americas, producing 256,186 tonnes of beans in 2013, according to World Atlas, an endemic across the Brazil region has caused its production value to fall drastically; Reuters reports the 2016/2017 output as approximately 150,000 tonnes. The disease, called escoba de bruja, or witch’s broom, has attacked several regions in Brazil, according to Choco-Story. However, the country is well set up for a recovery, as one of the reasons for the decrease was also a country-wide seasonal drought that is now over.
4 | Cameroon
According to Reuters, cocoa accounts for half of Cameroon’s basic product exports (other basic products being food, lumber, minerals, and fish). World Atlas places its production output at 275,000 tonnes of cocoa beans. Although the government presented plans to increase production to 600,000 tonnes by 2020, Reuters reports that extreme weather conditions and erratic rains are taking a toll on the country’s potential to reach its goal. According to Business in Cameroon, a large portion of the South-Western cocoa crop undergoes no national system checks, as it is illegally transported to Nigeria. The government has faced pressure from stakeholders in the cocoa business to fight this recent tendency after the information was revealed in a meeting in July 2017.
3 | Indonesia
Despite only being in the cocoa industry since the 1980s, Indonesia produced 777,500 tonnes of cocoa beans in 2013, according to World Atlas. The country has about 1.5mn hectares of cocoa plantations, with its main regions of production in Sulawesi (which makes about approximately 75% of the country’s output), North Sumatra, West Java, Papua, and East Kalimantan. However, many of the cocoa trees are the same ones planted in the 1980s, their age leading to a decline in productivity. Reuters reports that the Indonesian government launched a $350mn campaign in 2009 to bolster production, but encountered limited success as the replanted trees were still disease-prone, and had both poor roots and poor bean quality. One of the failings of the campaign is its lack of an educational components, since 90-95% of the farms are owned by small-scale farmers (the rest being either state-held or private firms).
2 | Ghana
According to Ghana Business News (in 2000), Ghana’s production of cocoa stood at 450,000 tonnes. Although still a commendable amount, its production output had impressively doubled by the end of the ensuing decade, its production in 2013 standing at 835,466 tonnes, according to World Atlas. It is an important crop to the nation, permeating from being found on their 1 cedi coinage, to accounting for 8.2% of the country’s GDP and 30% of its export earnings in 2010, according to Ghana Business News. Despite a tumultuous history, from contributing 30-40% of the world’s total cocoa output in between 1911 and 1976, to needing intervention from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the 1980s, there are still 1.6mn Ghanaian people involved both directly and indirectly in the growing of cocoa.
1 | Côte d’Ivoire
Topping the list by an impressive margin is Côte d’Ivoire, with a cocoa production output of 1,448,992 tonnes, accounting for 30% of the world’s cocoa supply, according to World Atlas. The industry stood at 900,000 tonnes of production in 1995, the increase related to the shift in cocoa production from the southeast to the southwest, according to Science Direct. Science Direct also reports that the average yield per hectare has remained consistent over the past 20 years, standing at 500-600 tonnes per ha. The cocoa industry is responsible for two thirds of the country’s trade revenue, according to World Atlas, although reports of child labour, harsh working conditions and no education, have been found as one of the tenets upon which the industry has been constructed.