The world faces a chocolate ‘drought’ over the next few years, an expert warned yesterday.
Political unrest in the Ivory Coast, where 40 per cent of the world’s cocoa beans are grown, has ‘significantly’ depleted the number of certified fair trade cocoa farmers.
Many have fled the West African country, while fair trade training programmes have also come to a halt.
Fairtrade training programmes have ground to a halt because of the danger farmers face in rural areas.
The situation is already affecting chocolate manufacturers, who are facing the highest cocoa prices for over 30 years....
'Supplies of sustainable cocoa are set to run out, it's that simple,' he said.
What about unsustainable cocoa?
Of the world's 5.5 million cocoa farmers, only 10 per cent have been trained and certified as sustainable fair-trade producers.
The certification is granted by specially-trained teachers, and the course runs for up to three years.
But the political turmoil in Ivory Coast means both the farmers and trainers are fleeing the country, leaving a severe shortage of certified cocoa beans.
Even if the political situation improves, it could take three years or more for the number of certified fair-trade farmers to reach its former level.
According to Mr Kennedy, manufacturers are now fighting for the rest of the world's sustainable cocoa bean stock.
'Things could get nasty now as producers start to fight over the last stocks,' he added.
Fair trade, schmair trade. I can't sleep without my chocolate milk.