The $11 chocolate bar?
A tough growing environment in Africa has led some cocoa farmers to drop their crops -- spurring predictions of a world shortage.
Cocoa is headed for a shortage, they say, and eventually a single chocolate bar could cost $11 on average. The price of cocoa has already shot to an all-time high lately.
"In 20 years chocolate will be like caviar," said a conservation researcher in Ghana, a hot spot for cocoa production. "It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won't be able to afford it."
The problem is that it's becoming too difficult to farm cocoa in traditional fields in Africa. The soil is depleted of nutrients, one expert says, and a labor shortage is hurting production. That's affecting cocoa crops on the continent, although cocoa can still be grown in South America, the Caribbean and Asia.
In places like Ghana, the Independent reports, young farmers are abandoning cocoa for the more profitable rubber plant. It doesn't help that cocoa plants are getting hit with diseases.
Chocolate would never disappear altogether. But it may become an expensive treat that fewer people can afford. Cheaper alternatives such as carob could fill the void. Post continues after video:
One recent study showed that the chocolate market is only growing in the premium, high-end sector. And fans will continue to get their chocolate fix, but at higher prices.
"Fine chocolate, like fine wine, will cost considerably more, as cocoa farmers stop leaving the land in search of better-paid jobs in the cities," the chair of the UK Academy of Chocolate told the Independent. "The result will be more careful cultivation of the crops, and a greater supply of fine cocoas."
The pressure is now on Cadbury, which is owned by Kraft (KFT), and Nestlé (NSRGF) to plant sustainable cocoa farms and give workers incentive to stay. Hershey also has a considerable interest as well -- although the company has started replacing the cocoa butter in its chocolate bars with vegetable oil.
The big winner in all this is Anthony Ward, the London hedge fund manager who has bought up so much cocoa that he has all but cornered the market this year. Some say Ward now owns the equivalent of 5 billion chocolate bars.
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Well, maybe climate change will help. If the overall climate alters (and it is considerably hotter in the area of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas these days) maybe the US will start to be more like Africa as Africa turns into a big desert. We could try growing it here. Though, of course, since Canada is warming up--maybe one can grow it there or even Alaska.
Then again, Mexico is where it came from originally--if Mexico grows a lot of cocoa, maybe their economy will take off and all the Mexicans will go home. Profitable cash crops don't disappear--they just will be grown somewhere else. Or they will be genetically engineered to grow in another climate. This is a load of hooey.
5 billion chocolate bars? That is way to much chocolate for one person.
Anyway... what else is new. everything is going up in price, it probably isn't worth worrying about something that is going to happen in 20 years, if it happens. Have a good day everyone!!!
Although I love chocolate, I am glad this is happening. Maybe now they won't rely on child slavery to harvest the chocolate that companies, like Nestle and Kraft, so maliciously force them to harvest for little to no pay.
If you don't believe me then look it up.
Here are a few links to open up your mind:
wikipedia.com search - "children in cocoa production"
I kinda wanna try fi****ashios too.
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