"Easter Egg Prices Surge Amid Climate Change Impact on Cocoa Crops"

According to researchers, climate change is contributing to a rise in the cost of chocolate Easter eggs this year.

Most chocolate products are derived from cocoa grown in West Africa, but a recent humid heatwave has wreaked havoc on cocoa crops, leading to significant decreases in yields. Experts attribute this extreme heat to human-induced climate change, which has heightened the likelihood of such events by tenfold. Consequently, prices for some popular Easter eggs have surged by over 50%.

The cocoa shortage resulting from the heatwave has driven prices up dramatically, reaching nearly $8,500 (£6,700) per tonne this week. Cocoa trees are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in climate, and the severe drought conditions in West Africa since February have only worsened the situation. Exceptionally high temperatures exceeding 40°C in countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana have weakened cocoa crops by accelerating evaporation rates and depriving plants of essential moisture.


Furthermore, the occurrence of El Niño, a natural weather phenomenon in the tropical Pacific, has further impacted cocoa production. El Niño years often bring about extreme weather patterns, and the current strong El Niño, coupled with climate change, has exacerbated challenges for cocoa farmers.

Last year, both Ivory Coast and Ghana experienced heavy rainfall, leading to a proliferation of black pod disease—a fungal infection that harms cocoa beans. These extreme weather events have caused cocoa prices to more than triple since the previous year, thereby affecting chocolate prices in retail stores.

Chocolate manufacturers, such as Lindt & Spruengli and Mondelez (the owner of the Cadbury brand), have already cautioned about imminent price hikes due to escalating cocoa costs. However, it is the smallholder farmers in West Africa who bear the brunt of these fluctuations, as cocoa cultivation forms a significant portion of their income.

As climate change continues to worsen, experts emphasize the importance of wealthy countries like the UK providing financial and technical support to assist farmers in developing countries in coping with extreme weather events. Such assistance is vital for safeguarding livelihoods and ensuring a steady supply of cocoa beans for chocolate production.

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Piers Potter


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