Commonly known as the black gold of Cote D’Ivoire, cocoa is the seed derived from oval shaped orange fruits known as calabashes. The Cote D’Ivoire is the largest producer and exporter of Cocoa Beans in the world representing 40% of global production. The quantity per year is about 1.4 million metric tonnes.
Cocoa requires warm and moist climates with altitude and can grow on its trunk or on branches. It needs shade to develop and hence most cocoa plantations either have banana trees or a forest with tall tress. This protects them from the sun and wind. Its height varies from 3 to 8 metres and simultaneously bears buds, flowers and fruits. On average it develops one fruit, a calabash, for every one hundred flowers. A calabash is the shape of a rugby ball and varies from 300 to 500 grams. It contains approximately 20 to 50 seeds which are wrapped by a white pulp. Once the white pulp is removed, it is allowed to ferment for 6 to 7 days and then dried in the sun for a further 7 days. At this stage, they take on the name of “cocoa beans”. The process of fermentation and drying are the two most important stages in determining the high quality of the bean.
There are three main species of Cocoa trees. The most widespread in the Cote D’Ivoire is used for bitter cocoa and goes by the name of “Forastero”. This tree originated from the Amazon region. The second is grown in Central America and parts of Asia and goes by the name of “Criollo”. This produces a more aromatic and finer cocoa. The final species is a cross breed of the previous two species and is grown all over the world. This species goes by the name of “Trinaterio” and produces fine cocoa which is rich in fat.
Global Commodities Limited, through its company in Cote D’Ivoire, exports about 7,500 Metric Tonnes of Cocoa Beans to various traders in Europe.
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