Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Cocoa Bean Prices Increase As Political Unrest Grows

As political problems in Ivory Coast go unresolved, a large chunk of the world's cocoa supply is in question.

Chocolate Bunny

Photo: SpecialKolin (flickr)

The days surrounding Valentine's Day and Easter tend to be some of the busiest for chocolate vendors.

Cocoa trees only thrive in a thin strip of the Earth around the equator, so when even one fragment of that strip stops producing, there can be big after-effects.

Political unrest in Ivory Coast has led to a temporary ban on cocoa bean exports from the country, which supplies 40 percent of the world’s cocoa beans.

After Alassane Ouattara won last year’s presidential election, he enacted an export ban on cocoa beans to try to cut off as much tax revenue as possible from incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to relinquish power. Cocoa beans are one of Ivory Coast’s biggest exports and moneymakers.

Luckily, most of the country’s exports got out before the bans went into place, which means we won’t likely see a chocolate bunny shortage when one of the most chocolate-centric holidays in America happens later this spring. But there could be a few other consequences: higher prices or smaller packages.

“The whole industry is facing some pretty severe cost pressure this year,” said Barry Parkin, vice president for chocolate at Mars, Inc. “If prices stay at this level, then you should expect that it will get passed on to the consumer.”

Read More:

  • Rising Cocoa Prices May Leave Chocolate Fans Bitter (NPR)
Carrie Schedler

Carrie Schedler is a senior at Indiana University studying journalism, English and French. She's originally from Columbus, Ohio, and still dreams often about salty caramel ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and baguettes from her semester abroad in Paris. Hopefully, she'll learn how to cook eventually.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media