If you love a good dark chocolate or enjoy a cup of hot cocoa often, then you must be interested to find out which are the countries that produce the most cocoa beans in the world. We just love chocolate, which is why we’ve decided to find out which countries we should thank the most for making it possible for us to enjoy our favorite sweet.
Before we head on straight to the list, let’s say something more about the history of growing cocoa trees, its production, and the nutritional value cocoa and chocolate have. After all, if you enjoy consuming cocoa/chocolate, you’ll be happy to hear about the benefits it can have on your health.
In 1753, a botanist from Sweden, Carolus Linnaeus, decided that this precious tree should have a more appropriate name, so he renamed it to Theobroma Cacao, with “Theobroma” meaning “food of the Gods”, and “Cocoa” derived from the Aztec word “xocolatl” in which “xcoc” stands for bitter, and “atl” for water. You’ll be happy to know that this quite suitable name became its official botanical name.
According to historians, the first people who found that cocoa tree fruits are edible indeed were the Olmec – the first major civilization in Mexico. How did they discover it? Well, it is believed that they first saw rats eating it avidly. Yes, thanks to the rodents, we now enjoy eating chocolate. OK, well, not only thanks to the rodents, but also thanks to the Olmec and the people who decided it was a fruit well worth spreading to all corners of the world.
Most of the cocoa trees are grown in the “Cocoa Belt”, which is just a band from ten to twenty degrees south and north of the Equator. A humid tropical climate with enough rain is something that cocoa trees need. If you’ve never seen one, just like me, you’ll be also surprised to read that cocoa trees can reach a height of up to 40 feet (12 meters). Its fruits, in brownish-yellow or purple color, are little bigger than 1 foot ( 30 cm), and they have a treasure inside them, which usually consists of twenty to forty tasty cocoa beans. From those cocoa beans is made chocolate and cocoa powder, but only after the fermentation process is over and the beans are naturally or artificially dried.
As for nutritional value, if you didn’t know, you’ll be happy to hear that cocoa is full of essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc to name a few. Some researches have discovered that consuming chocolate reduces stress, bad cholesterol, reduces risk of stroke, and befits are health in so many ways. More about nutritional value og cocoa you can find here. So, how come people always say that eating chocolate is not good for our health? Well, because of the sugar, and other ingredients added, and also it is not good like with any other food to eat it in large amounts.
In order to find out who dominates in the cocoa production world, we’ve used statistic data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Even though only the statistics from 2013 are available, chances are nothing much has changes, since the top cocoa beans producing countries were almost all the same even back in 2001. The order of this list maybe should be a little different this year, but we weren’t able to find the production data for 2014 or 2015. Even though some of the countries on this list below are also among the most advanced countries in agriculture, they are all facing some issues regarding cocoa bean production. You will find out more about it as you go trough the list.