Cocoa beans, Cameroon © E. Fidele, Unsplash


How can we intensify cocoa production in a sustainable way, to satisfy growing demand? The sustainability of the value chain depends on its capacity to adapt to climate-related constraints (particularly pests and diseases) and pressure on resources. It must also be attractive to small-scale cocoa producers. CIRAD and its partners are working to help producers and players further downstream in the supply chain develop a sustainable cocoa economy.

The figures for cocoa

  • 5.5  million producers in the global South produce 4.5 million tonnes
  • Cocoa plantings cover more than 12 million hectares
  • Yields vary from 150 to 2500 kg/ha/year
  • Consumption will have increased by 20% by 2020-2025
  • Ivory Coast accounts for 44% of total global output
  • Four African countries supply more than 70%

The issues

For producers and technical centres

Ageing farmers and plantings, a drop in soil fertility, and low productivity are exacerbating competition with other, more lucrative crops, or more attractive non-agricultural activities. For these players, the challenge is to:

  • live decently on the income drawn from their farm
  • innovate, both technically and economically, to make the crop more attractive
  • safeguard and boost their land and human assets
  • respond to ever-growing demand.

For industrialists, chocolate makers and consumers

Global demand is growing and diversifying. For these players, the challenge is to:

  • ensure that production systems respect the social and environmental context
  • respect food safety standards and regulations
  • obtain information relating to product origin.