No cocoa beans. No chocolate.
The largest cocoa producer is Ivory Coast, formally known as the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The nation of 29 million people covers 124,000 square miles on the Western Coast of Africa. According to The World Population Review, Ivory Coast produces two million metric tons of cocoa annually, about a third of the global amount. Ghana, a neighbor geographically, produces another 10% of the world’s total. Floods have decimated the crops in both countries, nearly destroying this year’s harvest compared to normal yield.
Cocoa is harvested twice a year in these countries in October and March. The problem could get worse. News service AFP wrote that Jaccoville of Price Futures Group reported, “Traders are worried about another short production year and these feelings have been enhanced by El Niño that could threaten West Africa crops with hot and dry weather later this year.”
Trading Economics data reveals that cocoa prices are at $4,200 per tonne, the highest price in 46 years. This is an increase from $2,323 in June of last year. At $4,200 per tonne for cocoa, chocolate makers have been forced to double their prices…if supply can even be found.
Some European chocolate producers expect they may not be able to run their factories at all.
TIME points out that a second problem hampers these chocolate manufacturers. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has badly crippled the fertilizer supply chain, which is a major supplier to cocoa farms. What the weather has not ruined, the biggest conflict in Europe since WWII has.
The recurring phrase “running out of” has become a part of the conversation as we discuss the climate crisis. Some see the phase as alarmism that weakens the argument about the effects of climate change. Arizona will not run out of water, some say. Part of the world without ready access to food is not “running out,” really. However, when supply becomes so low or prices become so high, “running out” is effectively just what happens.