The world demands about one million more metric tons of chocolate than cocoa farmers are physically able to produce. By the year 2030, this deficit is estimated to reach two million tons. The problem is largely rooted in chocolate’s popularity. To put it quite frankly, we are consuming far too much chocolate.
The blame for this chocolate deficit can’t be blamed entirely on human greed. Dry weather in West Africa, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced, seriously decreased production in the region. Many believe that climate change is behind these temperature shifts in West Africa.
On top of the foul weather, a plant fungus called frost pod has been estimated to have killed between 30 and 40 percent of all the global cocoa production, according to figures from The International Cocoa Organization. Another fungus called witches’ broom is the reason why Brazil is no longer the world’s second largest exporter of cocoa.
Many hope that genetically modified chocolate could help to save this booming business from extinction. Modern genetic engineering could be a way to add in a useful gene, such as one that makes a plant resistant to fungus without disrupting the genetic base for quality.
Scientists have already engineered a breed of cocoa called CCN51. Not only is it resistant to fungus, but it can also produce more than seven times as many beans as the non-modified breeds. Unfortunately, cocoa producers believe that scientists may have sacrificed taste for durability in their creation of CCN51, but it’s hoped that further developments could improve the new chocolate’s flavoring.
Read the full, original article: Chocolate Chip Cookies In Crisis: As Cocoa Production Plummets, Can GMOs Keep Our Lives Sweet?