The ICCO's attention to cocoa production is the mirror image of its work on cocoa consumption. Issues such as the environment, as well as economic and social sustainability play prominent roles in cocoa production. Cocoa is predominantly a smallholder crop, as more than 90% of world cocoa production originates from small farms. In Africa and Asia, a typical smallholder cocoa farm covers only 2 to 5 hectares of land.
An overview of trends in production is included in the annual analysis on the world cocoa market (which can be accessed here). Analyses of factors underlying the growth of cocoa production are hindered by a lack of knowledge of the available cocoa resources in cocoa producing countries. Such a lack of knowledge also limits the development of rational policies in cocoa producing countries. Hence the ICCO encourages producer countries to improve the basic knowledge of the cocoa resource base.
This area comprises: production policies for sustainability, efforts to improve the functioning of the cocoa supply chain, preservation of the environment in cocoa production, diversification, etc. The Consultative Board is currently reviewing a number of project proposals that have been tailored to address the need to achieve sustainable cocoa production.
Cocoa pests and diseases have a very negative effect on annual cocoa production, requiring much more natural resources (land) than would normally be the case without such losses. Resistant planting material can greatly reduce crop losses, as can best practice in farming techniques. Special efforts appear to be essential in order to prevent and contain the international and global spread of cocoa pests and diseases. For these reasons, the Secretariat has been involved with a number of stakeholders in developing projects aimed at dealing with the spread of pest and diseases.
Acquiring a better insight into the costs of cocoa production, trade and exports in different countries and regions has been considered by the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy, as the Board views such information as one of the building blocks for a sustainable cocoa economy.