World Cocoa production
Cocoa, a native to the Americas, was a valuable crop in the earliest South American cultures. The term cocoa originated from the Nahuatl word “cacahuatl”. Many believe that the plant first grew in the Amazon and upper Orinoco basins but the Mayans and the Aztecs eventually developed techniques to cultivate cocoa successfully. The plant was considered as a symbol of wealth for these civilizations and its beans were used as currency. Cocoa beans are the main ingredient for making chocolate.
In terms of world cocoa production the Ivory Coast was rated among the top cocoa producing countries, accounting for more than 35 percent of the world cocoa production over the last five years. In 2013, the country produced approximately 1.4 million metric tons of cocoa beans, valued at roughly 1.5 billion international dollars. The nation is expected to produce almost 1.7 million metric tons of cocoa beans during the 2015/2016 crop year.
In 2010, the United States and Germany accounted for a combined 20 percent of the world’s total cocoa consumption. Unsurprisingly, Germany was also Europe’s leading chocolate producer in 2012. During the same year, U.S. brand Hershey’s generated 3.72 billion U.S. dollars in chocolate sales. Chocolate sales in the United States are estimated to reach 22 billion U.S. dollars by 2017.