If you were to say that you haven’t eaten chocolate ever in your life, then that would be hard to believe, not only for us but for anybody else to whom you reveal this fact. The thing is that chocolate is consumed on a larger scale all around the globe, especially little kids are fond of chocolate. And did you know that the unique flavor of chocolate actually comes from roasted cocoa beans? Basically, cocoa beans are the seeds of the cacao trees, which are then harvested, fermented and further proceed to make cocoa powder to mix in with dairy products to make chocolate and other chocolate-flavored beverages. It is believed that cacao trees were first domestically cultivated in some regions of South America thousands of years ago. Where the cocoa beans were used to make specific traditional drinks. And it was just a couple of hundreds of years ago when cocoa cultivation became a thing in many countries all across the world.
However, when you look at the data on cocoa production in today’s modern era, you’ll see mostly African countries taking part in the cultivation of cacao trees. And you may already know that Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana are the biggest cocoa producers in the world. Therefore if you consume a food item containing cocoa beans as the major ingredient (such as chocolate bars or other chocolate-flavoured beverages), there is a greater probability that the cocoa beans came from Cote D’Ivoire or Ghana. But Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire aren’t the only players in this game.
Top Countries for Cocoa Production in World
And today’s post is going to be all about the top 10 largest producers of cocoa in the world. So let’s get down to it then. Shall we?
1. Cote D’Ivoire
Côte D’Ivoire aka Ivory Coast is the most prominent country where the cultivation of cacao trees happens on a massive scale. Thus it automatically becomes the largest producer of cocoa in the world. However, the production amount is calculated based on the total amount of cocoa beans, and you’d be surprised to know that this small West African country accounts for more than 38% of the total world’s cocoa beans production. The main reason behind that is pretty simple: Cote D’Ivoire has perfect climate conditions for the growth of cocoa beans. Neighbouring countries of Cote D’Ivoire also have wild cacao trees, but they don’t produce cocoa fruit that much. If we talk about Cote D’Ivoire’s total cocoa beans production from last year, so it was well over 2.2 million metric tonnes. And most of which was exported to American and European countries for a decent profit.
It has been seen that in-house chocolate production started recently in Ghana. This is why now this country utilizes more than 30% of the total cocoa beans production for in-house chocolate production to increase the profit margins. This initiative was started by some local companies and the government of Ghana because the international importers were exploiting the cacao farmers by paying them very less to the exports. It has been a couple of years since Ghana is producing well over 800 thousand tonnes of cocoa beans every year. And last year, in 2021, Ghana produced around 880 thousand tonnes of cocoa beans in one fiscal year.
In terms of cocoa production, Indonesia started pretty late compared to other nations on our list today. It was in the 1980s when cacao tree cultivation started on a larger scale in Indonesia, before that cacao trees were just grown naturally in the wild. Within a few decades, Indonesia has become the third-largest producer of cocoa in the world. And in terms of total production amount, Indonesia isn’t very far behind Ghana. It is quite feasible for Indonesia to surpass Ghana in the next five to 10 years. That is primarily because the island of Sulawesi’s cacao cultivation is being increased every year by the local farmers. Talking about last year’s total cocoa production in Indonesia, was around 740 thousand metric tonnes.
Nigeria is the third-largest cocoa producer in West Africa, however, it merely produces half of what the Republic of Ghana produces every fiscal year. Nigeria has been holding the title of fourth largest cocoa producer in the world for quite some time now, and that is because, for many local farmers in Nigeria, cacao cultivation and cocoa harvesting are the main sources of income. Therefore, the total cocoa production amount of this West African country has been quite steady. As per a statistical report from 2021, Nigeria produced well over 340,160 metric tonnes of cocoa beans, most of which were exported to other nations for profit.
In South America, Ecuador is the largest producer of cocoa beans which is not very far behind Nigeria in terms of cocoa production every year. The profits generated from cocoa bean exports help the overall economy of the Republic of Ecuador. It is a fact that the cocoa beans produced in Ecuador are the most aromatic ones, thus there’s a high demand for them in the international markets. If you are interested in the total cocoa bean production of this South American country, we’d like to tell you that last year it produced well over 327,900 metric tonnes of cocoa beans.
The African continent accounts for more than 70% of the total cocoa production of the world. And a Central African country like Cameroon also adds up a significant production amount to the total production of cocoa production in the world. However, Cameroon is yet to surpass the 300 thousand metric tonnes mark, but it’s not very far behind that. Last year, in 2021, Cameroon produced more than 290 thousand metric tonnes of cocoa beans.
Brazil is the second-largest cocoa producer in South America that has been holding the title of the seventh-largest cocoa producer in the world for quite some time now. Back in the 1980s, Brazil used to produce well over 400 thousand tonnes of cocoa every year, but the production amount dropped a lot because of the spread of fungal disease on the plantation. Since then, Brazil’s cocoa production has been getting on track over the years, however, the growth is somewhat slow but steady. Last year Brazil accounted for nearly 270 thousand metric tonnes of cocoa beans.
8. Sierra Leone
Another West African country on today’s list is Sierra Leone which holds the title of the eighth-largest cocoa producer in the world. The cocoa bean exports done by Sierra Leone add up to more than $30 million every year to the economy of the nation. Many American and European continent countries have a higher demand for cocoa beans imported from Sierra Leone. And to keep up with such high demand, this West African country produces a significant amount of cocoa beans every year. To be precise, last year, Sierra Leone produced well over 193,150 tonnes of cocoa beans in just one fiscal year.
Ecuador’s neighbour country Peru is also known as the third largest cocoa bean producer in South America. However, Peru produces nearly half of what Ecuador produces every year. Talking about the specific data, in 2021, Peru accounted for the production of more than 160,200 metric tonnes of cocoa beans. Similar to any other country, Peru also chooses the export route to generate profits from cacao cultivation. But the thing is that many farmers and families in Peru earn quite less for selling cocoa beans in bulk after the fermentation process. Despite that, in Peru, cocoa bean production is the main source of income for around 100 thousand families.
10. Dominican Republic
Last but not the least, the Dominican Republic is the tenth-largest producer of cocoa in the world as per recent data. The thing is that the Dominican Republic’s cocoa production amount doesn’t even surpass the 100 thousand metric tonnes mark, but since we’re making this list about the 10 largest producers of cocoa, therefore we had to include it in our post today. In 2021, Dominican Republic produced well over 77,600 metric tonnes of cocoa beans. And as usual, most of the production amount was exported to European and American continent countries for profit.
That’ll do it. Here is the list of the top 10 largest producers of cocoa in the world. So next time when you eat chocolate or use cocoa powder, you’ll realize that any of these countries are responsible for the production of the main ingredient in that chocolate or cocoa powder.
Cocoa Production FAQs
Q1. What Kind Of Climate Is Required For The Successful Cultivation Of Cocoa?
Ans: Cocoa flourishes in areas with temperatures ranging from 20-32°C (68-90°F), high humidity levels, and consistent rainfall. These trees also necessitate well-draining soil, abundant in organic matter, and a slightly acidic pH. Furthermore, cocoa trees need a certain amount of shade, which can be achieved by planting other trees or employing shading devices.
Q2. What Is The Role Of Labor In Cocoa Production, And How Are Workers Typically Compensated?
Ans: Cocoa production entails various stages, such as planting, pruning, harvesting, fermenting, and drying the beans. These tasks demand a substantial amount of manual labor, with most work being performed by hand. In numerous cocoa-producing nations, low-skilled workers, including children, often carry out labor. Compensation for workers varies greatly, depending on the region and the specific company. Some workers receive daily wages, while others are paid based on the quantity of beans they harvest.
Q3. What Are Some Other Common Uses For Cocoa Besides Chocolate?
Ans: Cocoa’s use extends beyond chocolate production. For instance, it can be utilized to create cocoa butter, an essential component in cosmetics like soaps, lotions, and lip balms. Cocoa powder is also employed in baking to impart a rich chocolate flavor to cakes, brownies, and other sweet treats.
Q4. How Are Cocoa Beans Graded And Classified, And What Are Some Factors That Affect The Quality Of The Beans?
Ans: “Fine flavor” cocoa, grown in particular regions and possessing a unique flavor profile, represents the highest grade of cocoa beans. Other factors influencing cocoa bean quality include the soil and climate of the growing area, the harvesting and processing techniques employed, and storage conditions. Generally, higher-quality cocoa beans exhibit a more intricate flavor profile and are highly sought after by chocolate makers.