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World to face chocolate drought in 2014: expert

india Updated: Jan 28, 2011 23:13 IST

The world is facing a "chocolate drought", according to an expert, whose warning is prompted by fears that the globe's sustainable cocoa supplies could be exhausted by 2014.

Political unrest in the Ivory Coast, the source of almost half the world's cocoa beans, has depleted the number of cocoa farmers there.

Many have fled the country or are smuggling the crop into Ghana, where it is selling at a far higher price, says British chocolatier Angus Kennedy.

Chocolate makers are now facing the highest cocoa prices for more than 30 years.

Prices jumped by 10% this month alone following a curb on international cocoa exports initiated earlier this week by Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara.

Kennedy said that chocolate producers were facing "one of the biggest challenges to hit the industry in recent history".

"Supplies of sustainable cocoa are set to run out, it's that simple. The Ivory Coast is a complete no-go area for cocoa traders as it's too dangerous, so training new farmers and trying to cut problems in the region is now impossible. "So in effect, its sustainability is not sustainable. Prices can't go up as it's reported because there basically isn't enough certified cocoa left to sell. Things could get nasty now as producers start to fight over the last stocks," the British media quoted him as saying.