Cacao crops soon to take over the Amazon
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Cacao crops soon to take over the Amazon

Everybody loves chocolate.

Yet increased cacao production is taking a bite out of the Amazon rainforest.

According to the International Cacao Organization, global cacao production has increased by 2.1 percent annually during the past decade, reaching 7.3 million tons in 2014, El Espectador reports.

Matt Finer, a researcher at the Amazon Defense Association referred to the Peruvian firm United Cacao, which destroyed 2,000 hectares of rainforest to create a cacao plantation.

“It (United Cacao) is changing the sustainable cacao production model in Peru, from small-scale plantations on land which has already suffered deforestation, to a large-scale agro-industrial model, creating plantations in virgin parts of the rainforest.”

Bitter sweet truths

Whereas cacao previously was produced in Western Africa, crop disease and extreme climate changes have seen growers look to Latin America.

A report from the World Resources Institute (WRI) has released Nasa satellite imagery, highlighting the extent of deforestation across the Amazon as a direct result of increased cacao crops.

From the images, researchers have calculated that changes in cacao farming across the region have produced around 602,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

That’s the equivalent of driving your car around the world about 60,000 times!

The WRI report pointed the finger at chocolate company Cadbury, as every 49 gram bar of much-loved chocolate produces 169 grams of carbon dioxide. The statistics also include all primary materials – cacao, milk and sugar – used in the production process.

Chocolate’s carbon footprint continues to grow, as a direct result in changes of farming practise.

Milk chocolate produces around 6.8 grams of carbon dioxide per gram, whereas dark chocolate, with a higher cacao content, is reportedly 10.1 grams.

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