The fatty seed of the fruit of the tiny, evergreen cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao), which is a native of the Amazon rainforest, is dried and fully fermented to produce cocoa. The Nahuatl word “cacahuati” is where the Spanish word “cacao,” which is where the English word “cocoa” comes from. Cocoa is a valuable crop that was first domesticated in the equatorial region of South America about 5,300 years ago, and it is thought that the Mayan and the Aztec people were the first to grow the cocoa trees successfully.
Most cocoa trees are planted in tropical regions that are 20° to the north and south of the equator, where the climate is ideal for growing cocoa trees. The main component of many Mesoamerican products, including chocolate, is cocoa beans. The top 10 cocoa-producing nations in the world are covered in the article that follows.
1. Cote D’Ivoire – 2,200,000 Tons
Cote d’Ivoire, which lies in West Africa, is the world’s largest cocoa producer, producing over 2,200,000 tons of cocoa beans per year. About 38% of the world’s total production of cocoa beans is produced in Cote d’Ivoire. It should be emphasized that Cote d’Ivoire’s national economy is heavily dependent on cocoa prices, and the export of cocoa beans accounts for a sizable amount of the nation’s export earnings.
2. Ghana – 800,000 Tons
Another West African nation, the Republic of Ghana, produces over 800,000 tons of cocoa beans annually, ranking second in the world. Ghana’s agricultural industry is centered around cocoa, which contributes around one-third of its export earnings.
The previous growing season’s cocoa harvest in Ghana was raised by more than 20% due to the country’s favorable climate. Although Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s top producer and exporter of cocoa beans, Ghana is also renowned for producing high-quality cocoa beans that fetch a premium price for cocoa on the international market. Ghana’s high-quality cocoa is largely a result of the nation’s grading system, which only collects the best cocoa beans from the farmers.
3. Indonesia – 739,483 Tons
With an annual production of 739,483 tons of cocoa beans, Indonesia is the third-largest producer of cocoa in the world. Another important agricultural export for Indonesia is the cocoa bean, and during the past several years, this industry has experienced tremendous expansion. In Indonesia, there are around 1.5 million hectares of cocoa plantations, and the island of Sulawesi alone produces more than 75% of all the chocolate consumed in the nation. Some of the top destinations for Indonesian cocoa beans include the United States, Malaysia, and Singapore.
4. Nigeria – 340,163 Tons
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, the fourth-largest cocoa producer in the world with annual cocoa bean production of roughly 340,163 tons, is the next country in West Africa on this list. The main agricultural export of the nation and the main source of non-oil foreign cash for Nigeria is cocoa. However, Nigeria’s contribution to global cocoa production fell as the nation began making investments in the oil industry. In 2010, Nigeria’s cocoa production made up just 0.3% of the nation’s whole agricultural GDP.
5. Ecuador – 327,903 Tons
The Republic of Ecuador, which is located in the northwest of South America, is the world’s fifth-largest cocoa producer, producing roughly 327,903 tons of cocoa beans every year. The history and economics of Ecuador have benefited greatly over time from the production of cocoa. The Arriba or Nacional cocoa cultivated in Ecuador is distinctive and one of the most sought-after cocoas among chocolate manufacturers. Even though Ecuador produces only 4% of the total amount of cocoa grown worldwide, it produces 70% of the fine fragrant cocoa.
6. Cameroon – 290,000 Tons
The Republic of Cameroon, which is located in west-central Africa, is the world’s sixth-largest cocoa producer, producing roughly 290,000 tons of cocoa beans each year. More than 600,000 cocoa growers work in this industry throughout Cameroon, making it essential for rural communities.
7. Brazil – 269,731 Tons
Brazil, the seventh-largest and longest country in the world, is also the seventh-largest producer of cocoa in the world, turning out roughly 269,731 tons of cocoa beans annually. Brazilian agriculture’s largest industry is the production of cocoa. It should be recalled that Brazil alone produced about 430,000 tons of cocoa beans in the early 1980s. However, production has significantly decreased over time, primarily as a result of falling prices and the spread of the fungus known as Witches’ Broom.
8. Sierra Leone – 193,156 Tons
The Republic of Sierra Leone, which is located on the southwest coast of West Africa, is the eighth-largest cocoa producer in the world, producing roughly 193,156 tons of cocoa beans every year. One of Sierra Leone’s most important exports over the years has been cocoa. Sierra Leone established its first cocoa processing factory, which is planned to process up to 4,000 tons of cocoa beans annually, in order to better the living conditions of the local farmers and make money from this important business.
Sierra Leone exported cocoa beans worth roughly $33.2 million in 2019, ranking it as the 17th largest exporter of the commodity worldwide. The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Malaysia, and the United States all import a sizeable portion of the nation’s yearly cocoa production.
9. Peru – 160,289 Tons
The Republic of Peru, which is situated in western South America, is the ninth-largest cocoa producer worldwide, producing roughly 160,289 tons of cocoa beans every year. Over 100,000 families in Peru depend on the cultivation and production of cocoa for their livelihoods. The Amazon region of Peru is home to a wild genetic diversity of cocoa. Peru is also the top producer of fair-trade organic cocoa in the world and the second-largest producer of organic cocoa overall. Peru is regarded as one of the world’s top producers of fine-flavor cocoa, and in recent years, the country’s export of cocoa has grown significantly.
10. Dominican Republic – 77,681 Tons
The Dominican Republic, the second-largest nation in the Caribbean, is located on the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola Island, which is part of the Greater Antilles Archipelago. With an annual production of roughly 77,681 tons of cocoa beans, it ranks as the tenth-largest producer of cocoa in the world.
The Dominican Republic is a major supplier of organic beans and excellent flavor cocoa, with roughly 40% of that quantity being sold to high-end markets, according to the International Cocoa Organization. About 150,000 hectares of land have been planted with cocoa plants across the nation. Additionally, the nation has 36,236 registered farms that are engaged in the production of organic cocoa.
The production of cocoa beans, which are a necessary component in creating chocolate, is largely confined to a few important nations. Growing cocoa beans has even become a significant source of revenue for some local populations in several regions of the world. We trust that this article has improved your understanding of the origins of cocoa beans as well as how they are grown and transformed into delectable chocolate goods.