The global cocoa market continues to grow with a strong momentum in 2018, while global cocoa supply continues to be dominated by the world’s top cocoa producing countries mainly in Africa and Central America. As cocoa demand remains significantly high around the world, driven by the strong performance of the global chocolate industry, these top cocoa producing countries are expected to further strengthen their leadership in the global cocoa production and create more business opportunities for local cocoa suppliers.
Originated in Central America over five thousand years ago, cocoa beans are primarily used as raw material for chocolate and other popular confectionery products around the world. Today, 90% of the global cocoa beans produced are consumed for chocolate production. According to a recent report from Mordor Intelligence, over 4 million metric tons of cocoa beans are produced each year. Global production of cocoa beans in 2015 was peaked at 4.36 million metric tons.
The international market prices of cocoa are very volatile and change variably with demand and supply. Last year, global cocoa prices went down due to expected surplus supplies. However, the low prices will drive the demand in the coming years with expected changes in product pipelines of major confectionery companies. According to the latest report from ICCO, the global cocoa price stood around US$ 2,096.42 per tonne by Feb 2018.
Currentl, Africa is the largest producer of cocoa, accounting for 72% of the total global production followed by Latin America and the Asia Pacific. Europe is the largest consumer and importer followed by North America. Major cocoa bean exporting countries include Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Indonesia and, Malaysia among others. Although the production of cocoa beans is dominated in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific; the major grinding facilities are placed in the Americas and Europe.
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Leading the way in the global cocoa production is the West African country Cote d’Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast. Cote d’Ivoire has always been rated among the top cocoa producing countries and largest cocoa exporters in the world. In 2016, the country produced approximately 1.472 million metric tons of cocoa beans, valued over 1.5 billion international dollars. Cocoa is also the biggest contributor of country’s export earnings as cocoa alone is responsible for almost two-thirds of the trade revenue coming into the country. Major confectionary companies like Nestle and Cadbury are some of the largest buyers in the Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry. The nation is expected to produce more than 1.7 million metric tons of cocoa beans during the 2017-2018 crop year.
Ghana is the second largest cocoa producing country in the world. Cocoa is critical to the country’s economic growth as it is accounting for about 17% of the nation’s GDP. In 2016, Ghana produced total 858,720 metric tonnes of cocoa. Together with Cote d’Ivoire, the top two largest cocoa producing counties account for approximately 60% of the world’s total cocoa production. Next in line are Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru (EPU), and the Dominican Republic, all contributing an outsized share of world cocoa production.