Search This Blog

Available Language Options

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chocolate addiction is definitively global

In December, scientists unlocked the genetic code of  Theobroma cacao aka chocolate.The article from Nature genetics is fascinating. Criollo Cocoa is from Central America. Our dear chocolate went through 3000 years of domestication. From the Mayas to our supermarkets, cocoa has changed to vigorous and productive hybrids.  In this evolution, we lost the fine flavor of chocolate from the Criollo varieties. According to the article: “Fine-cocoa production is nevertheless estimated to be less than 5% of the world cocoa production due to the low productivity and disease susceptibility of the traditional fine-flavor cocoa varieties. Therefore, breeding of improved Criollo varieties is important for sustainable production of fine-flavor cocoa.”

Of course, 18 European countries did partner with CIRAD (a research agency designed to help developing countries develop their agricultural industries) for the love of cocoa. Today, Ivory Coast cocoa farmers are protesting against the UN sanctions by burning cocoa beans. Ivory Coast is the biggest cocoa producer in the world.  Farmers are losing their wages while cocoa has been at highest trading price for a year. This is done for the love of politics.

It seems that in 3000 years of domestication, nothing has changed. For the Mayas, cocoa trees were sacred and beans were used as currency.  Cocoa beans traveled from central America to Europe thanks to Christophe Colomb. The democratization of chocolate in Europe went along with chocolate slavery. The globalization of the chocolate markets goes with economic slavery. And our annual global binging of 3.7 million tons of cocoa comes with many genetics breeding and political manipulations. As a child our parents often told us to never forget that some children working in the cocoa fields never tasted chocolate. I know that fair trade is a drop in the ocean but sometimes a little is all we need to survive. Chocolate addiction is definitively global!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails