According to The Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation Report funded by the governments of the UK and Norway, 80% of the deforestation worldwide is caused by agriculture. Commercial agriculture is the most important driver of deforestation in South America accounting for 2/3 of total deforested area followed by Africa and (sub) tropical Asia, where agriculture is responsible for around 1/3 of deforestation.
This deforestation is leaded by the booming of the high-risk commodities such as soya, palm oil and cacao beans. According to Greenpeace, since 2010 the area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45%, the palm oil production in Indonesia is up to 75% and the cacao plantations in Ivory Coast has gone up to 80%.
The recent report by Mighty Earth The Dark Secrets of Chocolate, has revealed that the chocolate industry is responsible for a significant loss of forest cover in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the two main producers of cacao in the world. Most of the national parks and protected forests in the Ivory Coast have been entirely cleared, due to illegal deforestation to grow cacao needed to obtain cacao beans. These cacao beans are sold to large agribusiness companies that sell them as a raw material for the chocolate companies in Europe and North America to produce many of our favourite sweet treats. However, this is not sweet for everyone, not for the farmers that are exploited, chimpanzees, elephants and other wildlife that have lost their habitat.
Source : Mighty Earth
The demand of chocolate raises 2- 5% per year and with it, the terrible practices of the chocolate industry are expanding to other rainforests in Africa, Southern Asia and Latin America. In Indonesia, the deforestation for cacao represents 9% of the deforestation for crops in the country, contributing along with the palm oil, timber and paper to the deforestation of orangutans, rhino, tiger and elephants' habitat. Cacao is also leading the deforestation in Congo and Peru, incrementing carbon emissions and threatening rainforest biodiversity.
These are the consequences of the destruction of the forest to intentionally implement massive monocultures of cacao; however, cacao grows naturally in areas with the right conditions and as a part of the forest with other shape trees and crops. The study by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) comparing monoculture and agroforestry cacao production systems in Bolivia shows that the cacao grown with other crops benefits from other trees shade and nutrients. In consequence, it is not only a more productive system, but also offers food security, income for small farmers and protects biodiversity.
In this sense, Pacari Chocolates avoids sourcing its cacao beans from any kind of monoculture (small or large) and works exclusively with small farmers that grow their cacao trees in the Amazon forest naturally avoiding the destruction of the forest to intentionally grow the cacao and helping this way in preserving the biodiversity of the rainforest in Ecuador.
Author: Johana Mora Solorzano