Cocoa is essential to the livelihoods of 40 to 50 million people worldwide, including more than 5 million smallholder cocoa farmers who grow this valuable crop. According to the World Cocoa Foundation, it has been an important ingredient in global cultures and history, evolving over the years, and continues to be enjoyed today in thousands of different forms.
The chocolate supply chain is characterized by global geographical boundaries. The agricultural production is based on smallholdings and intensive farming: according to the World Cocoa Foundation, 80 to 90 percent of cocoa production comes from small, familyrun farms, typically 2 to 4 hectares (5 to 10 acres). The production is located in tropical areas of Africa (73 percent of total production), Asia (13 percent of total production), and Americas (13 percent of total production). Once cocoa beans are harvested, fermented, and dried, they are exported to major chocolate producer countries located in the temperate band, like Europe and Northern America.