Cocoa Production in West Africa

Powerful Essays
By Darren Francis
10/22/2010

Cocoa Production in West Africa

This map shows the main cocoa production areas in West Africa. The patterns shows on this map indicate that the Southern coastline of West Africa is a major cocoa bean producing area. The pattern starts at Sierra Leone and follows the coastline down to Cameroon. Some exception to this pattern is in Nigeria, in the area of Port Harcourt there is no production and in Benin there is also no production. The brighter orange as indicated on the map which is the main part of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana accounts for 60% - 2.2 million metric tons of World cocoa production while all cocoa production in West Africa accounts for more than 70% - of World cocoa production.

The requirements to grow cocoa
The cacao tree is grown in the tropics in a band between 10 to 20 degrees north and south of the equator, sometimes called the "Cocoa Belt". The tree is often grown in the shades of other trees. It can be as tall as 12 meters, and has pod) which are more than 30 cm long. The fruits contain 20-40 cocoa beans in a sweet-sour pulp.
Cocoa is usually grown under remnant forests, planted shade or intercropped with other commercial crops that protect the cocoa such as banana trees. In Malaysia and Indonesia, cocoa is also grown in full sun, although shade is used during establishment. The height of cocoa is kept to about 3-5 m to make management and harvesting easier. Average yields are low, about one tonne/ha or less of dry beans. Harvesting has a high labour demand for a relatively short and unpredictable season. After harvest, beans are fermented and dried by growers and then traded.

The ideal range of temperatures for cocoa ranges from about 20°C – 30°C. If the absolute minimum temperature falls below 10°C for several consecutive nights, the produce is likely to be reduced.

Although cocoa will grow above 30°C, the upper temperature limit is not well defined and shade cover will control maximum

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