Chocolate industry threatening West Africa’s rainforests


The worldwide demand for chocolate is having a negative impact on the rainforests of West Africa, as farmers scurry to cash in on the demand.

In the process, large tracts of forests have been cut down to make way for cocoa farmers. Many cut down trees in order to ensure that their crops get enough sunlight.

A report by the Guardian newspaper, however, reveals that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) are in the midst of drawing up plans to save their rainforests from destruction by the cocoa industry.

According to the report, both countries are in the process of developing legislation to protect what is left of the forests.

Ivory Coast, is believed to be the world’s leading producer of cocoa, has around 40 percent of cocoa crop grown in protected areas.

In a bid to save the forests, the Ivory Coast government is hoping to persuade cocoa traders to encourage farmers to plant trees in a “densely shaded” forest while their crops are grown underneath.

This approach signals a change in tactic from the government, which has been accused of human rights abuses as they attempted to evict farmers from forests.

There are also plans to turn some forests into national parks.

Ghana, meanwhile, has more lofty goals, which include promoting complete transparency of the cocoa food chain, from the farmer up.

Plans as to how either country will finance these proposals were not immediately clear, the paper reports.