❷ Cocoa tree farmers

Have you ever wonder how chocolate is made? People that are chocoholic like me usually do not familiar with the production of chocolate. I always wonder how chocolate is made when I was little. I knew that chocolate was made from cocoa beans but I did not know the real processes of making them. I noticed that there was a cocoa bean shortage going on instead of chocolate shortage after while researching the production of chocolate.

The journey of most chocolates in the world starts in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Farmers grow cocoa trees on small farms. They have to take good care of cocoa trees because cocoa trees are very sensitive plants.Farmers must protect trees from the wind and sun. They must also fertilize the soil and watch for signs of distress including attack from pests and disease. Will good care, Cocoa trees can take up to five years before it produces cacao pods and it can continue to produce pods year round until it is 25 or 30 years old. Cacao trees grow thousands of flowers on their trunks and branches every year. Only a small percentage of these flowers will actually produce a cacao pod. There are about 30 to 50 cocoa beans in each pod. These beans are what ultimately get transformed into cocoa powder or chocolate.  Many cocoa tree farmers have been giving up on their plantations because of  the aging trees that yield fewer pods and the arduous process of harvesting. They claim that they are not earning enough money from growing cocoa and some claim that the government is not helping them. Some farmers did not want to give up their family tradition of cocoa planting but they had no choice financially; they are choosing between family tradition and hunger.  These cocoa tree farmers thought that their futures of  planting cocoa are miserable and hopeless. Even younger generation planning to plant cocoa trees is not encouraged by the older generation in some countries. Many cocoa tree farmers switched into planing rubber. On the other hand,  some farmers of other plants in some countries saw the growing price of cocoa beans and started to plant cocoa trees. They believe the price of coca beans is going to increase and will make them a lot of money.

To my opinion, the farmers have the power in chocolate shortage. Cocoa beans that cocoa trees produce are the most important source in the production of chocolate. If there are not enough cocoa beans, then how can we make more chocolate? I think farmers have power to control the chocolate shortage. Although the government have the power to fix the price of cocoa beans, it is up to the farmers to decide whether to spent a few years waiting for cocoa beans to grew up or to plant other things that can bring income every year. To be honest, if I was a cocoa tree farmer, I would give up on my old cocoa trees and plant something that brings me revenue annually.

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