Your Cocoa, Kissed By Deforestation – Mighty
Notes on deforestation for cocoa beyond West Africa:
Globally: Global forest loss caused by cocoa production was roughly 2-3 million hectares from 1988 to 2008, which equaled approximately 1% of total forest loss.[i] Cocoa represented 8% of deforestation embodied in EU27 net imports of crop products, 1990-2008.[ii] Cocoa is spreading, and as it does, it threatens new forests. “From 2000 to 2014, the global production of cocoa beans increased by 32 per cent – from 3.4 to 4.5 million tonnes – while the land-use footprint of cocoa plantations grew by 37 per cent – from 7.6 to 10.4 million hectares.”[iii] Cocoa production has been growing from 2007 to now in countries like Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Liberia, Uganda, Colombia, Sierra Leone, likely stressing already vulnerable forests there.
Indonesia: Indonesia is notorious for deforestation for palm oil, timber, and paper. However, cocoa production has been expanding there too, and it is the 3rd biggest cocoa producer in the world. Between 1988 and 2007, an estimated 0.7 million ha of Indonesian forest were cleared for cocoa production, which equals about 9% of total national deforestation for crops.[iv] The deforestation shown in our maps above is in the “cocoa island” of Sulawesi, where most of Indonesia’s 850,000 tons of cocoa a year[v] comes from. In 2017, around 63% of Indonesian cocoa production was concentrated on Sulawesi Island. The provinces within Sulawesi that produce most cocoa are West Sulawesi (18% of Indonesia’s total), South-East Sulawesi (17%) and South Sulawesi (16%).[vi] An expert told Mighty Earth that with the exception of the alluvial plains in the region North of Mamuju (West coats, facing Borneo) which was partly deforested in the mid 1990s by oil palm companies, almost all the deforestation in Sulawesi is for cocoa, especially in the hills (in general everything beyond 20 km from the coastal line). [vii]
Cameroon: Cocoa is also becoming a driver of deforestation in the Congo Basin, the most intact of the world’s great rainforests. Cocoa beans export statistics from ITC show an export increase by Cameroon from 131,075 in 2007 to 263,746 in tons in 2016, suggesting a doubling of cocoa trees were planted (noting that harvests start 3-5 years after planting), some of which was likely in forests. In 2012, Cameroon’s government announced plans to increase cocoa production from around 225,000 tonnes annually to 600,000 tonnes by 2020 – a move which would put more forests at risk. (though according to the director-general of the Cameroon Cocoa Development Corporation, these plans to expand cocoa are falling short).[viii] Already in 2014 over 11% of the land footprint of crop production in Cameroon was for cocoa. The deforestation shown in our maps above is in the Manyu division of South-West Region province of Cameroon. Manyu and Meme are the two divisions in Cameroon with the highest production of cacao.[ix] The South-West Region province is said to produce roughly half of Cameroon’s cacao.[x] Mamfé is the cacao capital of Manyu division. Since November 2016, there have been violent clashes between separatists and security forces. These clashes cut many Cameroonian buyers off from traditional sales routes, and thus some cocoa is reportedly illegally exported to Nigeria.[xi] In neighboring Nigeria, cocoa was estimated to contribute to 8% of national deforestation, 1990-2008.[xii]
Peruvian Amazon: Cocoa producers have also turned to South America, especially Peru. Cocoa beans export statistics from ITC show an export increase from 4,263 tons in 2007 to 61,888 in 2016. This would indicate a fifteen-fold increase in cocoa production. Satellite images in 2012 caught United Cacao red-handed destroying nearly 5000 acres of land for a cocoa plantation, encroaching on the carbon-rich, biodiverse Amazon rainforest in Peru. Peru’s cacao planting may have reached 129,842 hectares in 2016.[xiii] The deforestation shown in our maps above was found most in the provinces of Ucayali, Huanuco and San Martin.
Ecuador: Cocoa beans export statistics from ITC show an export increase from 80,093 tons in 2007 to 227,214 in 2016 – almost a three-fold increase. The cultivated area of cocoa in the provinces of Sucumbíos, Orellana and Napo increased by 16,600 hectares in 2000-2008. The agricultural sector is the main driver of Ecuadorean deforestation, through cultivation of pastures for livestock, cocoa and oil palm.[xiv] Cocoa is produced on an estimated 16,100 hectares in the province of Sucumbios and 13,500 hectares in the province of Orellana.[xv] The deforestation shown in our maps above is in the Orellana and Sucumbíos provinces.
February 14, 2018 at 05:28AM