According the ICCO cacao price archives and the Amercian Bureau of Labor and statistics on inflation, cacao is 60% cheaper today than 40 years ago. If price of cacao had only kept-up with inflation since 1974, cacao would now sell for US$ 7.3 per Kg, whereas it currently is at US$ 2.9 per Kg!
This slow strangulation of the cacao growers has resulted in the relative diminution of their numbers as well as in a quasi absence of investment in the maintenance and improvement of cacao plantations. Moreover, many small growers have stopped growing cacao in favor of sugar cane, coffee, bananas or other more rewarding crops. After loosing 60% of their revenues, how can growers be expected to pay for the investments needed to maintain and increase, both quantity and quality?
The large explotations in West Africa, South America or Asia, have also seen theri revenues decline forcing them to drastically reduced their investments. The various negative consequences include child labor, aging trees with diminihsing yeild and reduced research efforts.
During that 40 year period the average price of a chocolate bar has come up by 38 %. It came from 10 cents per ounce in 1974 (equivalant to 48 Cents of today) to 65 Cents today. Add to these facts the various productivity gains at the chocolate production end that have reduced production costs and you have a huge increase of the financial returns of the large chocolate and candy producers.
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