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How important is the cocoa sector in West Africa?

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Category: Corporate responsibility

Cocoa is a typical product of the tropics: it only grows in a narrow band around the equator. About two-thirds of the more than 3.5 million metric tons of cocoa harvested every year comes from West Africa, mainly Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

In West Africa, 90% of cocoa is grown on about two million small family farms. Most of these farms are about 2 hectares or less in size. It is estimated that at least 16 million people in West Africa depend on cocoa as a source of income. 

With a share of about 35% to the world cocoa harvest, cocoa is a significant economic factor in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 700,000 and one million farmers grow cocoa, most of whom are smallholder farmers working their own land.


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