No more Cocoa?

By Ava Bathurst

Too many people, not enough cocoa!

It all started with the Theobroma Cacao (ka-kow) tree, it's greek name meaning "food of the gods." And it may be the "food of the gods" to some people because the seeds, or nibs, that are inside the pods harvested from that tree make chocolate! In addition to chocolate, the nibs and pulp inside the pods make many different foods and beverages. But the Theobroma Cacao can only produce so many pods, and there are so many people that want them. Will there be enough cocoa or will there be none? Scientists are trying to grow Theobroma Cacao trees in other places now. Will they succeed?

Steps to Making Chocolate

Have you ever bitten into a sweet chocolate bar and wondered, how was this yummy goodness made?

1. First, the pods containing the beans are harvested and split open. Once this happens you can see the pulp-covered beans. Most pods are harvested and split by hand.

2. Now, it is time for the beans to be fermented. The beans and pulp are picked out of the pods and piled on leaves for about 5 days.

3. The beans are then dried in the sunlight on mats and put in sacks to be shipped to where the beans are going to be processed.

4. The dried beans are cracked and a stream of air separates the outer shell from the nib, or what is inside the shell and is one of the main ingredients in chocolate. This is called winnowing.

5. The nibs are roasted in special oven at temperatures between 105 degrees Celsius and 160 degrees Celsius.

6. The roasted nibs are grounded in mills.

7. Once grinded, the nibs, now mass, are pressed.

8. The powder is shipped to factories to be made into chocolate or other drinks, foods, and sweets.

My Opinion on Cocoa Production

I know that, with the evolving technology we have today, scientist will find a solution to boost cocoa supply and production. I also know that scientists have already started a little bit of research and are setting up experiments. I predict that by 2030, we shall have a solution that will solve the problem and help produce plenty of cocoa without the use of child labour.

Child Slavery is not okay

Recently, reporters and journalists have discovered children and teenagers working hard to harvest cocoa. Once, cocoa farmers captured and killed a reporter that discovered they were using young kids to boost cocoa production. On average, these children work ages 12-16, but reporters and journalists have found children as young as 5 working to harvest cocoa. These kids are all in poverty. Their caretakers often provide them with only cheap food, such as corn paste and bananas. Some are even beaten. They must use long knifes, or machetes, to harvest the pods. Then, the children have to crack open the pod with the tip of the machete. With every strike of the knife, the children have a possibility to cut open their flesh. Most children have scars on their body, arms, legs, and hands. Some are even sold by their own relatives. This is considered slavery. Why would people do this? Most do it to boost the production of their cocoa. Either because they want their cocoa to be used instead of others, or because they need more money. The average cocoa farmer earns $2 a day, which is below the poverty line.
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