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We’re Running Out of Chocolate! Luckily, India May Have a Solution

South Asia’s wild raw mangoes may just prevent a disaster for the $98.3 billion chocolate industry.

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The world’s chocolate industry, valued at $98.3 billion, is in peril. Farmers in West Africa, the world’s largest cocoa-producing area, are unwilling to grow the crop, for a number of reasons.

The crop is prone to a number of diseases, and is vulnerable to inconsistent rainfall. Cocoa farmers are also at the mercy of extortionist buyers, who offer them poor prices for their produce. A number of farmers have switched to cultivating more profitable cash crops. What will become of the world’s chocolate?

Not all is lost, however. Researchers at Bangor University, in Wales, may have found an alternative in the wild mango, which grows in Southeast Asian countries like India and Bangladesh. Mango butter, which shares thermal and chemical properties with cocoa butter, may just be the answer to the world’s chocolate shortage.

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Exploitation and Child Labour: Diseases That Beset the Chocolate Industry

The chocolate crisis also throws light on the working condition of farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the largest cocoa cultivating areas in the world. Farmers are vulnerable, and large corporations are notorious for exploiting child labour for farm work.

Farmers have to be incentivised to grow cocoa. Corporations are slowly coming around to the idea that if they don’t intervene and make radical changes, chances are that chocolate as we know it will become prohibitively expensive.

Also, as a generation that is aware of the massive human cost of procuring diamonds, shouldn’t we care about how our chocolate is produced? Shouldn’t we feel guilty if our chocolate is procured through unthinkable human rights violations?

(Sources: Scroll.in, The Wall Street Journal, Guardian)

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Topics:  Child Labour   Exploitation 

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