Cocoa Beans

Cost and Benefits of Cocoa Bean Harvests

How The Cocoa Bean is Harvested

  • Cocoa beans are inside of pods which grow out of the tree branches. These pods harvest twice each year, and are around 20 cm in length.
  • When the pods are cut, workers split them each by hand and the seeds go to be fermented and dried.
  • Fermentation: the cocoa pulp turns to a liquid, and the chocolate flavour begins to develop. This is done by piling the beans on leaves and covering them for 5-6 days.
  • Drying: the wet beans are dried either by the sun or other equipment
  • Winnowing: beans are cracked which releases the pieces used for chocolate.
  • Roasting: the 'nibs' are roasted to develop the real chocolate flavour
  • Grinding: Turn the cocoa beans into a thick liquid (cocoa mass)
  • Pressing: mass is pressed to extract the cocoa butter, which is then pulverized into a power; the final cocoa product.

Positive Effects of Cocoa Harvesting

  • 50 million people depend on cocoa for their livelihood.
  • $11.8 billion is production annually
  • Small cocoa farms account for 90% of the worlds production
  • provides jobs for people in developing countries like Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire

Negative Side Effects of Cocoa Harvesting

  • With the demand for cocoa increasing, farmers need to produce more. They shift to unsustainable ways that produce less quality, quicker, with more quantity.
  • Deforestation to create more farms
  • Child labour. Young boys, age 12-16 are being worked on these farms in inhumane conditions.

Past, Present and Future Amounts of Resource Consumption

  • Cocoa production began in Ghana in 1871. Since then, demand has been increasing and even by 1932, production was at 260 000 tons.
  • Around 1960, there was a drop in price and it caused production of cocoa to drop. Then, there was a loss of jobs and Cote D'Ivoire took over and became the worlds largest producer of cocoa.
  • In the last 50 years, demand has still been rising. Increased by 2.2% annually from 1970 to 2000.
  • Today, 3 million tons of cocoa is consumed annually.
  • There is now a cocoa shortage and farms are trying to generate more product to meet demand. With Ebola now in West Africa where the bulk of production comes from, it is hard to keep up production. The main cause of the decline in production is because of the mature trees simply becoming more unproductive.
  • Below is a graph of world cocoa consumption.
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World Cocoa Foundation and Nestle

  • The WCF is an international organization that works towards sustainability in the agriculture, development and environment of cocoa.
  • CocoaAction is a project within the WCF that works with chocolate companies to give fertilizers and improvement in planting material to the countries that need it most to produce cocoa.
  • 300 000 cocoa farmers are given education and knowledge, child labour monitoring and also environmental protection.
  • another example of an organization that works towards the sustainability of future cocoa production is Nestle, a company who has started to give farmers in countries like Ghana and Cote D'Ivore baby trees for free.