It’s Easter time and it makes me think of chocolate covered Easter Eggs. But did you know that the world is running out of chocolates? That in a few years time there may be no chocolate to cover our Easter eggs!
It’s true; the world is indeed running out of chocolates. By 2020, that is in about 5 years’ time, the world is expected to face a shortage of cocoa beans from which chocolates are made.
Because, while the production of cocoa beans is falling in countries that grow it, such as Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Ghana, the consumption of chocolate is increasing all over the world at a rate that the present production of cocoa beans cannot meet.
Countries such as China and India are eating more chocolates now than before even as countries such as the UK and the US which have always eaten lots of chocolates are eating even more!
So what are we to do?
Researchers in the UK are trying to create new cocoa plants that are more resilient and give better yields. This effort is being coordinated by the recently opened International Cocoa Quarantine Centre, in Berkshire, England.
Here each plant is isolated for a few months to ensure it is healthy. It is then moved to the main facility to be grown, observed and tested for about two years. Only after the researchers are completely satisfied, will the plants get shipped to farmers in West Africa or wherever else they are needed.
“Operation Wonka,” is consolidating the collection of 400 varieties of plants into a single facility makes the quarantine process faster, cheaper and greener.
It also allows researchers to create new genetically stronger varieties, by incorporating attributes from different plants. For example, they could combine one that is resistant to fungus with one that has high yields.
That sure is a glimmer of hope for all chocolate lovers!
Resources: BBC, The Guardian, Dogo News