With the production of African cocoa beans in a serious decline, the future of chocolate is questionable. A crop that's naturally grown in the rainforest, two-thirds of the world's cocoa beans are now harvested in in West Africa. However, the African soil degrades quickly, shortening the lifespan of the plants to 30 years or so. The director of Ghana's Nature Conservation Research Council, John Mason, explains the situation:
I think that in 20 years chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won't be able to afford it. The way we farm is just not sustainable. I'm afraid by the time we wake up to that fact it will be too late. I've worked in Ghana for 25 years and I can show you huge areas that can no longer support a crop.
Drastic changes need to be made in order for the world to meet the chocolate demand. Together with international environment charity Earthwatch, Cadbury (which gets all of its cocoa beans from Ghana) is looking for a solution to the problem. I find this highly disturbing and can't imagine a world without chocolate. How about you? Will you start stockpiling chocolate now?