The possible cultivation areas for cocoa are very limited because the cocoa tree does not tolerate temperatures below 15 ° C. It also depends on sufficient rainfall throughout the year. Therefore, as a result of these limiting factors, the cocoa cultivation can take place only in the tropical regions between 20 ° north and 20 ° south latitude around the equator.
The world's largest exporters are the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia. The Ivory Coast produces more than 1.5 million tonnes of raw cocoa per year and is thus far ahead of all other countries. While cocoa is cultivated and distributed mainly on large plantations in Latin America, smallholder family farms predominate in Africa.
About 2 million hectares of cocoa plants can be found on the Ivory Coast, from which 500,000 small farmers have to live of. They receive about 6% of the price the consumer pays for a chocolate bar at the supermarket. Their income is only about $ 0.5 a day. In order to reach the internationally defined poverty limit of 2 dollars, the income of a company would have to increase fourfold. This decline in prices is still being driven by fluctuations in the world market price for cocoa and the associated income and planning uncertainty. Abrupt price fluctuations can be triggered e.g. by political unrest in cultivated areas, adverse weather conditions or diseases and pest infestations. Other reasons can be a lack of storage capacities, which forces farmers to sell their goods immediately at the pre-set prices.
These catastrophic circumstances lead to the impoverishment of the producers and to a lack of financial resources, so that e.g. the wage for the necessary workforce can no longer be satisfied. The companies are then forced to go back in other ways. As a result, since 2008/09, the number of children working has risen from 0.82 million to over 1.3 million in 2013/14 on the Ivory Coast alone. Some special cases are when the children of plantation owners traditionally learn the handicraft of the parents and later take over the enterprise. However, children from neighboring countries like Mali are deliberately abducted, sold and forced to work on plantations. However, the chocolate industry and the low world market price do play a major role in those circumstances.