EINNEWS, November 16—If you don’t feel warm and fuzzy toward multinational companies because they move manufacturing and jobs out of your country, here’s another reason: they are the cause of the chocolate’s enormous price increase and could well cause the world to run out of chocolate within our lifetimes.

No chocolate? Not if cocoa farmers quit planting cocoa trees. And they are doing that less these days because the multinational companies that make and distribute chocolate products pay them so little, an estimated 5 cents out of every dollar the product brings at retail.

It’s come to a point where John Mason, executive director of the Ghana-based Nature Conservation Research Council says that “In 20 years chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.”

Cocoa crops are increasingly competing for agricultural space with other crops that offer farmers far more return. This is happening at the same time as more and more people, especially those in developing nations who are earning more, develop a taste for chocolate.

“Chocolate consumption is increasing faster than cocoa production ” Tony Lass, chairman of the Cocoa Research Association, told the annual conference of Britain’s Academy of Chocolate last month.

The Ivory Coast, far and away the world’s largest source of cocoa, has seen devastating recent outbreaks of cocoa diseases that have cut production. More and more people are replacing cocoa production with rubber where their profits are higher and prices are more stable.

The world could run out of affordable chocolate within 20 years as farmers abandon their crops in the global cocoa basket of West Africa, industry experts claim.

Small growers earn an estimated 80 cents a day, lowering their incentive to replant cocoa trees when they die.

Indonesia, another major cocoa producer, has been hard hit by a change in weather systems which has reduced production and forced prices higher.

The price of cocoa has doubled over the past six years.

For more food news, visit Food Industry Today (http://food.einnews.com), a food media monitoring service from EIN News.