Cocoa Prices on the Rise Because of Climate Change

Coffee and chocolate are at risk because of the climate shift. By as early as 2050, you may look back on Starbuck's coffee prices and think they were a deal.

In the year 2050, you may not be able to buy a chocolate bar, drink a cup of coffee, or eat chocolate ice cream without paying a hefty fee. Chocolate may live on as an artificial flavor for the masses, but you'll tell your grand kids (or even your kids) how great it was to sit on the couch and demolish a pint of chocolate ice cream. Climate change will drive prices up as crops dwindle in the next few decades.

Global warming and shifting climates are going to put a strain on more than just the economy, but creature comforts that some may take for granted. Sara Yasin of the Global Post wrote a report on how the weather extremes from climate change will alter our way of life in a matter of a few decades that will hit the soft spots of our everyday life. The Barry Callebaut Group, the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world, believes we could see "a potential cocoa shortage by 2020," resulting in price hikes.

Yasin has the numbers to prove it. Reports of chocolate consumption exceeding production, and predictions that the deficit is only going to grow. This demand has caused prices to skyrocket for chocolate, but some nay sayers may point to a higher population with disposable income. However, there are studies tracking a dip in cocoa production from the farms in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.

These countries make up 70 percent of the world's cocoa supply and it's one of West Africa's most important cash crops. There was a study released back in 2011 by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) that reported a bleak future for cocoa:

"There will be areas that remain suitable for cocoa, but only when the farmers adapt their agronomic management to the new conditions the area will experience. There will also be areas where suitability of cocoa increases. Climate change brings not only bad news but also a lot of potential opportunities. The winners will be those who are prepared for change and know how to adapt."

Those who are not equipped for the 3.6 degree Fahrenheit temperature spikes in some areas may be left without enough water to feed their profit plant. Peter Laderach, lead author of the study, explained to Scientific American how important cocoa is to the way of life for these farmers:

"Many of these farmers use their cocoa trees like ATM machines. They pick some pods and sell them to quickly raise cash for school fees or medical expenses. The trees play an absolutely critical role in rural life."

It's possible these farmers will shift to another crop the minute cocoa is no longer producing. But it's not as if cocoa will be gone from the earth entirely, you'll just have to get used to paying more for coffee and chocolate than you're used to—you may even look back at Starbuck's coffee prices and think, they were a good deal.

Read more at Global Post

Photo Credit: Aleshyn_Andrei/Shutterstock

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