Cocoa prices rising due to climate, shortage and fair wages for farmers


The price of chocolate will rise this year after cocoa futures reached a new record due to climate and operating costs.

The key ingredient that makes chocolate sweet, cocoa, has skyrocketed in price after a future earning call placed the commodity at $10,000 US per metric tonne.

A February report by agriculture-focused co-operative bank CoBank said cocoa prices were nearly 65 per cent higher than a year ago, and New York futures prices were at a 46-year high.

Climate change, supply shortages, and farmers fighting for fair wages are the reasons for price increases. Most of the cocoa affected stems from West Africa, which is also grappling with disease due to bad weather.

However, Victoria-area chocolatiers and chocolate makers say those rising prices don’t just affect producers who source cocoa from West Africa.

“Most of the world is getting affected by cocoa prices right now because almost all the major growing regions are having problems,” said Taylor Kennedy, owner of Sirene Chocolate.

Kennedy sources his cocoa directly from farmers around the world, including West Africa. However, that comes at a premium price to ensure that the farmers of his product are being paid a fair wage.

“Cocoa farms, it’s a lot of hard work, so the prices are coming up to [the point] where farmers are getting more equitably paid for that really hard work,” he said.

Kennedy says the retail chocolate producers will see the biggest impact from rising prices.

“They’re not going to be able to buy chocolate or buy cocoa beans for those really cheap prices anymore, so their prices will have to go up.”

David Booth, owner and chocolatier at Chocolat & Co., also sources cocoa and chocolate directly from farmers. Like Kennedy, he says the impact of cocoa prices won’t have much of an impact since he already pays a higher cost for his product.

“Instead of a couple of dollars for a chocolate bar, people don’t mind paying 10 to 15 dollars for a higher-quality chocolate,” said Booth.

The owner adds that much of his chocolate was purchased months ago, and the higher costs won’t be reflected in time for the Easter long weekend.

“It’s not going to be an overnight thing, it’s not going to necessarily affect this weekend,” said Booth.

-With files from Rosa Saba at The Canadian Press

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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