April 2, 2012 – TARAPOTO, Peru—Fredy Pinchi Pinchi trudges through the Amazon jungle here on a mission: to save the world’s chocolate: The 31-year-old agronomist is in search of a hardier and more-prolific cocoa tree. His progress—and that of researchers like him in other cocoa-growing regions—is being closely watched some of by the biggest players in the candy world, such as Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s, and Blommer Chocolate Co., a chocolate supplier to many major food companies. Driving the efforts to find better trees are concerns that farmed cocoa now comes from plants that are too old, fragile and low-yielding to satisfy the world’s growing taste for chocolate.
Due to rising demand in emerging markets, food companies and commodity traders are forecasting that global consumption of cocoa will surge by 25%, to about five million metric tons, by 2020. Industry officials and market experts say new and better cocoa plants are vital to future supplies—and to keeping chocolate an affordable luxury. Follow the link below for the complete story.
The Master of Disaster