The cocoa tree is native to the Americas. It originally comes from Central America as well as some parts of Mexico. Today, nearly 70 percent of the world cacao is grown in Africa. In 2016/2018, the production of cocoa beans in Africa amounted to some 3.5 million metric tons, more than half of which, two million tons, was produced on the Ivory Coast.
Nowadays the cocoa industry faces multiple problems. Apart from tropical climate, growing cocoa requires very specific conditions, such as shade and well distributed damping, as well as a wide range of various soils. Poor soil fertility conditions, old tree stocks, uncontrolled use of chemicals and deforestation are threats to the sustainability of cocoa production. Consumers become more and more aware of this situation and look for products that are grown in a responsible way. UTZ is a certified program for sustainable farming that ensures compliance with certain production requirements. Since 2009, the number of UTZ certified cocoa producing countries has increased from three participants to 21 in 2017.