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The Chocolate and Coffee Crisis

Chocolate and coffee lovers beware: climate change is taking a toll on the locations, such as West Africa and South America, where coffee and cacao trees are widely grown.

According to Barry-Callebaut and Mars Inc., two of the world largest chocolate-goods companies, one can expect there to be a large deficiency of chocolate as early as 2020. While in a study by UK scientists from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens indicates that wild Arabica coffee, a species of coffee that’s beans makes up 75% of the market, could been extinct by 2080.

 

From droughts in West Africa to flooding in South America, International Business Times cites that this past year’s “super” El Niño has caused wide-spread damage to both cacao and coffee growing regions.

However, climate change and El Niño aren’t the only factors to blame.

Both coffee and cacao plants take a very long time to produce. A new coffee plant can take up to 3 to 4 years to bear fruit. While a new cacao plant can take anywhere from 2 to 5 years to yield its first fruit.

 

On top of that, both plants lack genetic diversity, or are in-bred, which makes them extremely susceptible to bug infestations and nasty plant diseases, such Frosty Pod and Rust.

Mother Jones explains that due to their long yield time and inadequate genetics,  many farmers have shifted over to cash crops, such as corn, that can be produced quicker, and bred with ease. This in turn has added to larger deficiencies in production of both crops.

However, despite the morbid outlook on the future of coffee and chocolate, companies, such as Mars,   have began to dedicate a large amount of funding for research to creating new strains of coffee and cacao plants that will be able to grow in our slowly warming world.

By: Josie Lucero

Hello I'm Josie! I'm currently Journalism major and French minor at Colorado State University. Since I was 16, my (expensive) hobby has been traveling internationally. This love from traveling lead me to study abroad in Paris, France for a semester in autumn 2014. I'm interested in magazine writing and photojournalism.