Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Not Very Romantic View Of Chocolate

Chocolate is a Valentine's Day favorite. But some not very romantic problems surround this holiday favorite. Cocoa beans are under great political pressures in nations such as The Ivory Coast where thousands of UN peacekeepers and French soldiers have to stand between the warring rebels and the government. This puts great strains on the supply of cocoa beans for esport. In Ghana, another very poor African nation, child labor is often used to harvest the crop, and entire families caught in a cycle of poverty. Major companies that profit from cocoa have mostly refused to buy from Fair Trade farmers, so the cycle of poverty and exploitation remains largely intact. A nation like Ghana has cocoa as 40% of it's exports. The Ivory Coast produces 43% of the world supply of cocoa.

In addition, Brazil, a smaller, but still strong producer of cocoa is facing weather conditions destructive to the cocoa crop and production will certainly suffer. As a result of all of these problems, chocolate candy makers are expected to either raise prices or shrink the size of their candy bars again very soon.

Sorry. Not a very romantic picture. Sounds like "Debbie Downer". But happy St. Valentine's Day regardless.


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