Nelly Bassily | February 25, 2008
The Ivorian cocoa industry has suffered several blows over the past year. There has been scandal after scandal around the misappropriation of funds in the coffee and cocoa industry (see the report by Global Witness on conflict and cocoa in the Ivory Coast: http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_detail.php/552/en/hot_chocolate_how_cocoa_fuelled_the_conflict_in_co); a drop in cocoa production, and a drop in the price of cocoa. All of these economic problems were accompanied by the ongoing problem of plant disease. In the end, it was the small-scale cocoa farmers who suffered the consequences.
For more information on the problems facing the Ivorian coffee and cocoa industry, see the following articles (available in French only):
As well, here is the transcript of a conversation with the director of the World Cocoa Foundation and an American journalist who investigated practices within the Ivorian cocoa industry:
When it comes to protecting cocoa plants from disease, swollen shoot isn’t the only virus that farmers must guard against. Other diseases affecting the cocoa plant include: black pod, witches’ broom, monilia, and Vascular Streak Dieback. To learn more about cocoa plant diseases, see the section “Major pest and disease problems of cocoa” in this document about sustainable cocoa production:
You may also be interested in the cocoa farming training manuals produced by the World Cocoa Foundation:
If you broadcast in an area where cocoa is grown, you may wish to ask local farmers about their experiences, with questions such as:
-What do you do when your cocoa plants show signs of disease?
-Do you know effective ways to combat the diseases that affect cocoa plants?
-Do you grow crops other than cocoa? If not, how do you cope when you have a poor cocoa harvest? If so, which other crops do you grow, and what role do they play in your family’s food security?
Finally, here are some interesting facts about cocoa:
-Total amount of cocoa beans produced in the world each year: 3 million tonnes
-Percentage of the world’s cocoa produced in West Africa: 70
-Number of cocoa growers in the world: 5-6 million
-Number of people in the world whose survival depends on cocoa production — including growers, sellers, distributors, processors, and their families: 40-50 million