We all love chocolate, but hardly anyone knows how it looks like before it is coming as tablets into our supermarkets and even less how cocoa is grown and by whom. Cocoa is one of the few crops that is grown almost entirely by smallholder farmers. It is estimated that more than 5 million smallholder farmers work on cocoa plantations worldwide providing a living for roughly 40 to 50 million people. Out of the 4.2 million metric tons of cocoa that were produced in 2014/15 about three quarters were grown in West Africa (the rest in South and Central America and Asia).
About 40% of the world’s production is grown in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) by between 800,000 and 1.2 million smallholder cocoa farmers. With the cocoa they produce on plots on average between 1.5 and 5 ha small, farmers provide a living for about 8 million people. However, the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire as in many other producing countries lacks sustainability and farmers often cannot escape the vicious circle of low productivity and low incomes, lack of investment in their farms and persisting low yields. Read more.