Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ivory Coast's Sweet Gift to Colombia

Colombian cocoa beans
The small west-African nation of Ivory Coast happens to be a big player in cocoa exports - it provides 40% of the world's supply. Ivory Coast's terrible political crisis, in which the sitting president refuses to hand over power to the apparent election winner has brought about a cocoa export ban meant to cripple the economy and force a power handover.

Ivory Coast's crisis has pushed up world cocoa prices and boosted other cocoa exporters, including Colombia.

Cocoa beans are the main ingredient for chocolate, which is loved by Colombians. Even though Colombia is South America's third-largest cocoa producer, it imports the beans from Peru to feed its own chocolate habit.

Let's all hope that Ivory Coast resolves its terrible dispute fast and gets back onto the democratic track.

Cocoa shouldn't be confused with coca, the base ingredient for cocaine. Still, the fact that cocoa and coffee flourish in Asia, Africa and South America, makes one wonder why coca leaf is planted only in South America. 

Chocolate for sale at Chocolates Andino

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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