Major Chocolate Supplier Predicts Cocoa Shortage

August 1, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. demand /dɪˈmænd, -ˈmɑnd/ (v.) – to require or make something necessary
Example: The customers demand the company to replace its defective product.

2. secure /sɪˈkyʊər/ (v.) – to get something
Example: The company has secured an increase in its sales after releasing its new advertisement.

3. harvest /ˈhɑrɪst/ (v.) – to gather something
Example: The farmer must harvest all the crops before it rains.

4. practice /ˈpræk tɪs/ (n.) – an action that is often repeated
Example: The innovative practices of the farmers led to an increase in their yield.

5. fertilizer /ˈfɜrtl aɪzər/ (n.) – substance used to make soil healthier or more suitable to support growth of plants
Example: Many farmers use fertilizers to make the crops grow faster.


Read the text below.
A major cocoa shortage may develop as more countries demand for more chocolates, cocoa producer Barry Callebaut suggests.

Barry Callebaut [KAL-ee-bow] is one of the leading cocoa and chocolate suppliers in the world. But despite the company’s outstanding performance, CEO Juergen Steinemann [YOR-gen SHTAHYN-mahn] is concerned about the cocoa supply in the future.

Steinemann said that while the company has secured sales within the year, farmers may not be able to double the effort to meet the demand for more cocoa. With limited cocoa supply, most companies would not be able to produce chocolates once consumers increase their consumption.

Philippe Janvier, Barry Callebaut’s vice president, agreed with the prediction. According to him, farmers would rather raise palm or bananas, as cultivating cocoa beans takes years before farmers can harvest them.

According to the International Cocoa Organization, the production of cocoa will increase to more than four million metric tons this year, higher than last year’s 3.9 million metric tons. However, Barry Callebaut stated that this increase is not enough, as five million metric tons of cocoa are needed to meet its growing demand.

Barry Callebaut is now finding ways to combat the predicted chocolate shortage. The company focuses on increasing productivity of farmers in the Ivory Coast by teaching them new agricultural techniques and practices. The Ivory Coast holds 36% of the global cocoa production. Ultimately, this project aims to double the yields by 2020.

The company also considers using fertilizers, although it does not aim to use genetically modified cocoa. According to Janvier, helping farmers produce more yields with better quality will result in a better profit for both the company and the farmers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were one of the farmers, would you choose to cultivate cocoa beans instead of other crops? Why or why not?
·         How do you think this prediction would affect other chocolate producers?

Discussion B

·         How do you think can shortages in crops be avoided?
·         What could be the other reasons why there is a shortage in some crops?

August 1, 2014