DON’T PANIC: Your Chocolate is Safe

The Daily Mail recently asked “Will there be a chocolate drought?” suggesting that the worlds supply of chocolate might run out by 2014. Do not be alarmed, this is an absurd suggestion.

First of all the article cited that 40% of the worlds cocoa bean supply comes from the Ivory Coast, which is politically unstable right now. As a result people are leaving the country and “FairTrade” (an organization which certifies products/producers who follow their environmental, labor and developmental standards) has a training program for farmers which is in jeopardy because of the dangers in the Ivory Coast.

So the Daily Mail thinks the world will see chocolate bars disappear from their store shelves! The inhumanity! What dismay! How terrible! How awful! We cannot allow cocoa bean farms to become fallow ground! Don’t worry, they won’t. Yes you may dance now.

Angus Kennedy (a British chocolate maker) was quoted in the article as saying, “in effect, its sustainability is not sustainable. Prices can’t go up as it’s reported because there basically isn’t enough [“FairTrade”] certified cocoa left to sell.” (Emphasis added.)

Well, according to the article, out of the worlds 5.5 million cocoa farmers, 10 percent are certified by “FairTrade”. First of all, just because a random organization is loosing the means to train cocoa bean farmers in the Ivory Coast, does not mean that all chocolate is disappearing. And second, this is talking about the worlds cocoa farmers, not just the Ivory Cost’s.

So this what we can conclude from the alarming article: There is a chance that a small fraction of cocoa bean farmers in an obscure African country (which produces less than half of all the cocoa beans in the world) are not certified by a random organization. Chocolate is not disappearing. In the most extreme case a fraction of the cocoa bean farmers in the Ivory Coast might not be able to take FairTrade’s three-year certification course. A fraction of what goes through the market.

The Daily Mail‘s article’s absurdity gave me a good laugh anyway…

-Ben

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