World Cacao Map
We think this new world cacao map might interest you. It shows dramatic changes in the yearly cacao yield. It is created by Bent, a Balinese designer. He discovered that there are huge shifts in supply. Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Indonesia are highly surprising in different ways. And of course, Cambodia has now found her place on the cacao map for the first time in the world’s history. Are we at the dawn of a more equal spreading of cacao supply between the three continents America’s, Africa and Asia?
How is it possible that one country single handily became the supplier of more than 40% of the total world cacao production? We are talking of course of Ivory Coast. The country where farmers can only sell their cacao for a price, fixed by the government. A price, that is at least 30% lower than the London market cocoa price. And still, they are producing more and more. While they have no money to hire labor and no money for fertilizers. Child slavery labor is one of the solutions for these poor farmers. But for buying fertilizers there is no alternative. One of the stories we hear is that cacao farmers started cutting forests and planting illegally new cacao seedlings on new fertile soil.
Indonesia was the third country in the world when it came to cacao production. But their yield is already for a few years on the way down. Indonesia was the proud leading nation in Asia with over 600,000 metric tons. However, in the past decade, they lost almost two-thirds of their yearly yield. We understood that Indonesia doesn’t even produce enough anymore to fully supply big cacao factories from Callebaut and her competitors. These food giants have to import cacao beans from Ecuador now.
The South American farmers of Ecuador are doing a great job in the meantime. They managed to upscale their yearly cacao yield from under 200,000 metric tons in 2012 to almost 300,000 metric tons in 2019.
There is a cacao boom in South East Asia, despite the critical situation in Indonesia. Vietnam was 20 years ago one of the newcomers. Five years ago we, cacao farmers from neighboring Cambodia, are joining Vietnam with still a very modest cacao production. But we are confident that we can grow our production in the next five years to at least a few hundred metric tons while maintaining the organic standards for the whole of our two provinces (Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri).
Africa, with Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria in the front seats, is still responsible for most of the cacao supply. But climate change and extreme low cacao prices for farmers here are threatening the top positions of these countries.
But in South-America Ecuador, Brazil and Peru are climbing up again after decades of disease disasters.
At first sight, Asia seems a lost cause, with only Indonesia in the top ten of cacao supplying countries. And Indonesia is losing volume year after year. Still, there are great initiatives all across Asia and the Pacific. Taiwan and Cambodia are good examples. But their yields are far from impressive. On the other hand, new bean to bar chocolate makers in Asia are prepared to be far higher prices for high-quality cacao from these new niche regions. But we in Cambodia already can see that these increased prices have a positive effect on the number of farmers who are willing to give cacao a chance.