The European Union and other advanced countries heavily depend on Cocoa production from Africa, as raw materials to manufacture chocolates and other cocoa products. Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom etc, are some of the leading countries in chocolate production but Belgium is the biggest producers of chocolate in the world. The country imports around 6.8 percent of net Cocoa.
Despite the high demand for cocoa, which is expected to increase by 30% in the 2020, African farmers are living in poverty, because of poor international market price Europe and other foreign countries offer farmers. It is expected that since chocolate generates about $80bn globally industry, farmers in Africa would get bigger slice profits to enjoy better living standards but the bulk of the profits end up with the international industry responsible for producing the finished products.
This is one of the problems discussed by Africa leaders and cocoa traders in the just concluded 2nd World Cocoa Conference which took place in The Netherlands. Many wonder why the chocolate industry worth an estimated $110 billion a year, and yet African farmers responsible for the planting the beans are the poorest people, engaging many children in plantations as a form of child labour, instead of being in the classroom.
There are many ways Africa can help farmers to improve life and the economy. Instead of depending on the international price of products, which keep fluctuating, Africa should encourage investments in agriculture, as one of the solutions against hunger and poverty, and also to make life better for billions of people.
Photo: Cocoa farmers in Ghana.