Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Ivory Coast primates being wiped out because of world demand for chocolate

Cocoa plantations do not provide suitable habitat for primates

Researchers from Ohio State University have discovered that much of the protected land in the country's national parks and forest reserves in the Ivory Coast have been turned into illegal cocoa farms.

Between 2010 and 2013 the researchers surveyed 23 protected areas, they say in a recently published report, and found that about three-quarters of the land had been turned over to cocoa production.

The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa beans, the main ingredient in chocolate, which represents more than one-third of the available supply.

There is a growing worldwide demand for chocolate and Ivory Coast produced a record 1.7 million metric tons of cocoa last year.

Many of the older, legal cocoa plantations in the country have been blighted by disease or are not producing at earlier levels as previously, which has led some growers moving on to create new farms. Migrants from outside the country have moved into Ivory Coast and have turned to farming to survive.

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