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Cocoa Trade is Driven by Deforestation in West Africa


Cocoa demand is driving deforestation in West Africa. The majority of cocoa farming is done by smaller farmers in West Africa. To make extra money, they often cut down trees in the area to grow their viable land.

Source: VOA News/Youtube

Companies that buy from these farmers have been trying to stop the forest destruction. Mars, the company that manufactures Milky Way bars has been having a hard time tracking the number of farms. Mars pledged to shift to sustainable cocoa in 2009.

Reporter Steven Mufson said of the companies, “A lot of companies are taking a more active role on the ground in these places. It’s a huge bookkeeping operation to do this, but more and more of that sort of thing is happening.”

The Ivory Coast and Ghana are at the center of this deforestation. Ivory Coast has lost 90% of its forests since 1960. In late 2018 and early 2019, Ghana and Ivory Coast governments joined companies in a pledge to reduce deforestation in their countries. Those pledges have been tied up in negotiations and agreements.

Mighty Earth has released multiple reports on the deforestation and cocoa. Their investigations have found continued deforestation, child labor in cocoa fields, and a long supply chain for processing and manufacturing. The number of farmers, traders, suppliers, cooperatives, and buyers make the cocoa market complication. The organization noted the “unacceptable discrepancy between commitments and implementation.”

Deforestation is hurting elephants and chimpanzees. Converting forests to farms has led to 13 of 23 protected forests lacking any primates.

Sign this petition to help end deforestation in Ghana.

Read more about deforestation in One Green Planet. And check out these companies contributing to deforestation in South America.

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