Unsustainable cocoa production

The cacoa tree, which produces the cocoa bean, is native to the understory of the tropical rainforest, and has been traditionally farmed there for centuries. A boom in cocoa consumption caused global production to nearly double in the 1980's and 1990's. In response to unprecedented worldwide demand, cocoa farming spread to 16.3 million acres, and full-sun cultivation began on estate-like plantations in cleared areas of rainforest. While uniform monocultures may produce initially bigger yields, they are an inhospitable environment for pollinators and biological pest controls, and also encourage the movement of fungal spores, the biggest inhibitor to cacoa growth. Increased vulnerability to pests and disease prompts the generous application of pesticides and fertilizers, and initiates a cycle of high-input, high-impact agriculture.
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
02.12.1999 – 00:00 CET