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Chocolate Lovers in Ghana Feel the Crunch as Prices Skyrocket Amid Cocoa Market Turmoil

This dramatic price increase is primarily due to an unprecedented surge in the international price of cocoa beans. A year ago, cocoa was selling for just over $3,000 per metric ton but soared to over $12,000 by mid-April this year, before settling at just above $8,000 last week.

The beloved confectionary, chocolate, is experiencing an unprecedented price surge in Ghana, making it increasingly unaffordable for many who once enjoyed it regularly. Currently, a bar of Ghana’s popular Kingsbite chocolate sells for GH¢32 for 100g and GH¢18 for 50g. In January 2024, these same bars were priced at GH¢15 and GH¢8- GH¢10, respectively, marking an increase of about 100% in just five months.

The price hike affects not only retail consumers but also wholesalers. Joyful Cakes, a well-known cake maker, expressed frustration on social media about the escalating costs, stating, “Guys, we bought chocolate from Cocoa Processing at GH¢1,800. In April, it was GH¢2,470. Just went to buy it today, and it’s GH¢4,270. I don’t even know how to price now because that’s an insane rise.”

This dramatic price increase is primarily due to an unprecedented surge in the international price of cocoa beans. A year ago, cocoa was selling for just over $3,000 per metric ton but soared to over $12,000 by mid-April this year, before settling at just above $8,000 last week.

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For decades, Ghana and its neighbor Ivory Coast have been the world’s leading cocoa producers, supplying over 60% of the global cocoa beans. However, recent years have seen a worrying decline in production, threatening this dominance.

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Climate change has severely impacted Ghana’s cocoa farms. Unpredictable rainfall and rising temperatures disrupt the delicate ecosystem essential for cocoa trees. Droughts parch the trees, while excessive rain fosters fungal diseases like the Swollen Shoot virus, which devastates plantations and significantly reduces yields.

Compounding these issues is the rise of illegal gold mining. The allure of quick wealth has driven miners to encroach on cocoa farms, causing deforestation and pollution of vital water sources. This environmental destruction further exacerbates the decline in cocoa production.

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The global scarcity of cocoa beans has driven prices to record highs. In April 2024, cocoa futures soared to an astounding $12,261 per metric ton, a sharp increase from about $3,120 a year earlier.

Ghana, synonymous with rich, dark chocolate, faces a complex challenge threatening its signature product and the livelihoods of countless Ghanaians involved in the chocolate trade. The noticeable decrease in chocolate availability on the streets of Ghanaian cities underscores the impact of the price hikes. Chocolate producers are not spared either as they struggle to get beans and at exorbitant price to sustain their business.

The cocoa industry remains a vital part of the Ghanaian economy and a cherished ingredient for chocolate lovers worldwide. However, the current challenges pose significant questions for the future of chocolate consumption in Ghana.

So, what does this mean for chocolate lovers? The soaring prices may limit access to this beloved treat, transforming what was once a common indulgence into a luxury for many Ghanaians.

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