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World Chocolate Day allows chocolate lovers around the world to indulge in their favorite chocolate treats, including chocolate milk or hot chocolate.
Chocolate is a product of cocoa seeds. Cocoa is one of the world’s most valuable resources, cultivated around the world.
While cocoa is produced in all parts of the world, Africa holds 70% of the growing cacao trees in the world today. Two-thirds of cocoa production comes from West Africa. In 2019/2020, Africa’s cocoa bean production reached around 3.5 million tons.
Climate conditions are ideal for growing cocoa trees in tropical zones around the Equator. African countries produce the majority of cocoa beans, despite their origins in South America.
Cocoa beans, if eaten raw, have a bitter taste and must be fermented to become sweet.
Below, we highlight 10 African cocoa-producing countries that make World Chocolate Day a reality.
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10 African Cocoa Producing Countries You Should Know
1. Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast is located in West Africa. It’s the world’s largest cocoa producer, producing over 2.2 million metric tons annually. Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Togo follow generating an additional 1.55 million metric tons.
Statista reports that Ivory Coast produced approximately 1.45 million tons of cocoa beans in 2012/2013 and is expected to produce 2.23 million tons in 2022/2023.
The country is highly dependent on cocoa, which accounts for 40% of national export income, making it the leading cocoa-producing country in 2021–2022.
A total of 600,000 farmers live on cocoa in Ivory Coast, making it the world’s leading cocoa producer. Around 6 million people profit from the cocoa industry as well.
Ghana is the second-largest cocoa exporter in the world, after Ivory Coast and the world in general, with an annual production of approximately 1,100,000 metric tons in 2021/2022.
As the main cash crop in Ghana, cocoa is cultivated on an estimated 1.9 million hectares of land and supports over 800,000 farmers.
More than 70% of Ghana’s cocoa is exported to Europe and America, and a quarter is processed within the country.
In Nigeria, cocoa remains one of the most significant cash crops, primarily produced by small-scale farmers in the southwest. It’s the fourth largest producer in the world after Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia.
As the most populous African country, cocoa cultivation in Nigeria supports 300,000 farmers and takes up 800,000 hectares of land. According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Abubakar, Nigeria’s foreign cocoa earnings hit N122.9 billion in the first quarter of 2022.
Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti are the principal cocoa-growing regions, accounting for 60% of the nation’s total production.
Since the discovery of crude oil in the country, cocoa production has been drastically declining compared to the percentage of the population engaged in agriculture. This is despite the rapid growth in its production and its positive effects on the country’s economy.
Cameroon is currently the fourth-largest cocoa producer in Africa and the fifth-largest producer globally, with an annual production level between 230,000 and 290,000 tons over the past ten years.
In 2012–2013, the country produced about 225 thousand tons of cocoa beans, and Statista projects that number to rise to 300 thousand tons in 2022–2023.
Approximately 75% of the nation’s raw bean output is exported. Small-scale farmers in the savannah and in forested areas cultivate cocoa beans in Cameroon.
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Uganda exports cocoa as its fourth-largest commodity after fish, coffee, and tea. Over 30,000 metric tons of cocoa beans are produced annually in Uganda, according to the Uganda Export Promotion Board. Cocoa production has steadily increased over the past few years.
Due to its organic composition and fine flavoring, Ugandan cocoa competes successfully on the global market. This makes the commodity competitive on the international market for processing some of the finest chocolate in the world.
Liberia is one of the countries in Africa that produces cocoa. Although only a few smallholder farmers in Liberia are engaged in cocoa production, the country produces approximately 14,000 metric tons of cocoa beans.
The best cocoa currently on the market, according to experts, comes from Madagascar. With an annual production of roughly 12,500 metric tons of cocoa beans, the country ranks as Africa’s seventh-highest cocoa producer but only contributes about 0.5% to global cocoa production.
75% of Guineans work in the agricultural sector, with an annual cocoa production of approximately 12,000 metric tons. Guinea is the eighth-highest producer of cocoa in Africa.
9. Sierra Leone
Although Sierra Leone is a small country with an annual production of approximately 11,500 metric tons of cocoa beans, its bulk production goes to the Netherlands.
It also exports to Belgium, the United States, Italy, and Malaysia.
Sierra Leone exported $33.2 million in cocoa beans in 2019, making it the 17th largest cocoa bean exporter in the world and the 9th in Africa, making World Chocolate Day a reality.
Togo is among the smallest countries in Africa but possesses valuable phosphate deposits and a well-developed export sector based on agricultural products such as coffee, cocoa beans, and peanuts. It produces about 10,000 tons of cocoa beans annually.
On World Chocolate Day, it’s essential to acknowledge the roles of African cocoa-producing countries. Not only do these ten nations cultivate the raw materials used in chocolate creation, but they also contribute to the richness and diversity of chocolate flavors.
Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Madagascar, and Uganda are key players in the global cocoa industry. Through their dedication and expertise, they ensure the availability of cocoa beans, which form the foundation of delicious chocolates we enjoy.
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