About 70% of the world cocoa supply is extracted from West Africa. At present, this region is popularly-known for some of the world’s richest cocoa flavors. Cocoa farming in Africa is both art and craft. In countries such as Côte d’Ivoire (or Ivory Coast) and Ghana, cocoa and the cacao tree, also called as theobroma cacao, is significant in farming as it is a popular source of food, employment, industrial raw material, and resource. Besides, a majority of the household population consider cocoa as a traditional and national business which offers good income and reduces their poverty. Owing to its huge significance in Africa, this typical business is undergoing modernization to improve the sustainability and profits of cocoa-growing communities and countries in recent times. Furthermore, the modernization of coca business by market players and governments along with the growing significance of this traditional cocoa farming in Africa are collectively boosting the African cocoa market demand.

The African cocoa market size attained a value of $2.97 billion in 2018 and the demand for this market is rising with a CAGR of 4.4% over the forecast period 2019-2025.

Growing Prominence among Household Boosting the Cocoa Market Production in Africa

In Africa, cocoa farming is prominent for both economic and non-economic reasons for the household. In major countries of Africa that includes Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, cocoa production offers higher income when compared to other crops. Subsequently, the cocoa ecological system is fragmented among management and other multiple stakeholders. Income from cocoa enables the population to invest in house construction and child education as the income is received in bulk amounts. Besides, the African household considers continuous plantation of cocoa enables them to secure their land as well as enjoy the profits for a longer duration which increases their social security. Also, the crop demands lower labor and offers faster maturity than the other crops. In countries such as Ghana, the cocoa farm is used as faithful collateral access to credit by the borrowers to pay their loans or moneylenders. Owing to all these benefits, household of Africa are highly inclined towards the production of cocoa. This, in turn, is boosting the cocoa market growth in this region.

Rising Strategic Initiatives in African Cocoa Market Achieving Productivity and Traceability in Cocoa Supply Chain

In 2017, out of 5.2 million tons cocoa beans produced in the world, Africa accounted for about 3.66 million tons value of cocoa beans production. To achieve this huge amount of production, constant measures to improve the productivity and revenue of cocoa market is vital in the entire supply chain. So the governments, associations, and market players are coming together to surge sustainability of cocoa production in Africa while addressing the gaps arising in the supply chain. As part of this, the world cocoa foundation has introduced African Cocoa Initiative II (ACI II) to enhance the capacity and supply better planting materials, fertilizers, and pesticides. The activity is taken up by the organization during 2016-2021 with total funding worth $12 million. The organization has partnered with few of the industry players along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Global Development Alliance (GDA) to concentrate cocoa market growth especially in African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria. The main goals of this activity are to promote sustainable development of cocoa farming by introducing new techniques of planting and innovative irrigation strategies with the support of regulatory bodies. Additionally, this initiative aims to increase the provision of financial funding of entire cocoa value chain. The project also focuses on integrating women and youth farmers in all the activities as well as performing monitoring and evaluation strategies.

Along with that, Cocoa and Forests Initiative, CocoaAction Strategy and Climate Smart Cocoa initiatives of world cocoa foundation are bringing governments of African countries and cocoa companies together. Collectively, along with farmers of Africa, these organizations are promoting investments, sustainable production, traceability of cocoa supply chain, and restoration of forests along with addressing the challenges faced by different stakeholders of the cocoa supply chain. These collaborated initiatives of government and associations of countries in Africa are benefitting each part of the cocoa value chain of Africa. As a result, these activities are uplifting the African cocoa market demand.

Increasing Consumer Awareness is Reaping Profits for the Organic Segment of the African Cocoa Market

African cocoa market is observing lucrative opportunities in the organic segment with a CAGR of 5.6% during the aforementioned period. Rising health consciousness of population is increasing the demand for healthy alternatives of chocolates and confectioneries. Obtained from cocoa fruit, cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Along with that, organic cocoa liquor, and cocoa butter are used as healthy choices in bakeries, snacks, dairy, confectioneries, and other instant food products which is augmenting the demand for the organic segment of cocoa market in Africa. Consuming cacao helps to fight depression, stress, blood pressure, and heart problems. Knowing these benefits, millennials and other chocoholics are inclined towards healthy eating habits and are exploring the ingredients listed in a product. This is increasing the organic cocoa manufacturing among the Africans as well as the rest of the world. With these expedited applications in the food and beverage sector, African cocoa market is making substantial profits in the organic segment.

African Cocoa Market – Leading Players

Companies such as The Barry Callebaut Group, The Hershey Company, Nestlé S.A., Cargill Incorporated, Puratos Group, Cémoi, Mars, Incorporated, Blommer Chocolate Company, Meiji Holdings Company, Ltd. Carlyle Cocoa, Jindal Cocoa, and United Cocoa Processor occupy a significant part in the African cocoa market share. Few of the initiatives from the leading players boosting cocoa processing strategies of African cocoa market are:

In 2019, the Barry Callebaut Group, a global leader in producing high-quality cocoa and chocolate products recently inaugurated its latest and advanced processing unit at its Zone 4C Société Africaine de Cacao (SACO) plant in Abidjan capital of Ivory Coast. This new unit is a part of $55 million investment of the company which increases the processing capacity of the SACO plant by more than 40% by 2022, states the company. This substantial investment in cocoa processing utilities marks the long-term commitment of Barry Callebaut group to Ivory Coast and the African continent to emerge as a dominant industry player in the cocoa and chocolate market of Africa.

In 2018, Cargill Incorporated outlined a sustainability plan called ‘The Protect Our Planet’ strategic action to eliminate deforestation from the cocoa supply chain. This plan ensures that the company will reach 100% direct supply chain traceability in Ivory Coast of Africa and ensures ‘no further conversion’ of forest land in Ivory Coast and Ghana for cocoa production.  This plan also ensures to expand company’s forest efforts to its five supplier countries including Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Indonesia, and Ghana while securing the livelihood and involvement of small scale cocoa farmers. Apart from the above measures, Cargill has aligned its sustainable goals to integrate environmental protection and supplier engagement to advance transparency and capacity of production whole addressing the challenges faced.

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