The extremely high demand for Cocoa beans in the world market has caused many people (especially the cocoa farmers) to ask the question; what is cocoa used for?.What gives cocoa an extremely high demand in the world market that even thousands of cocoa plantations world wide still can,t meet the demand for cocoa in the world market?
Even though the governments (of the cocoa producing countries) keep providing incentives to the cocoa farmers for them to boost the production of Cocoa and the provision of free hybrid cocoa seedlings that matures within 2 yrs to boost productivity, the supply for Cocoa beans in the world market is still very low relative to demand.
So who are those oliver twist (cocoatarians) consuming the tons of cocoa beans which are sent to the world market every month?.
Take a look at the picture below. Thats just a single day harvest of 1 cocoa farmer. He,s not even through with his harvesting. Yet his harvest will just be consumed in the world market like a grain of rice .
As a person who grew up in a region where cocoa cultivation was the main occupation and the source of income of many people including our family, when i was still a kid (still in primary school) i often doubted whether the cocoa farmers will be able to sell all the heaps (mountains) of cocoa pods that i often saw in their cocoa farms during the cocoa harvesting period.
There was a certain time that i even questioned my dad when we were at our cocoa farm during harvesting period (after my father, mother and elder brothers had harvested all the cocoa pods from our cocoa plantation and we were about to start splitting the cocoa pods to remove the cocoa beans just like the 3 guys in the picture above are doing).
i asked my father this question; will you be able to sell these 2 mountain (heaps) of Cocoa pods? but he gave me a deaf ear so i angrily took my little cutlass and return home (i was only 8 yrs old then). Somebody may likely want to ask, why did you do that?. I did that because i was suspecting that my father must be throwing away sacks of cocoa beans due to lack of demand so i didn,t want to waste my energy producing something that will end in a trash can. I believed there was no way my country can consume so much quantity of cocoa. Cocoa beans wasn,t a staple food or ingredient in Cameroon (As a kid, i had no knowledge that cocoa was a cash crop). So what is cocoa used for?. That was a $64,000 to me.
When my father returned home (from the farm), he said to me…
Son! you consume cocoa everyday and yet you don,t want to produce what you love so much.
I boldly told my father that i don,t like cocoa.
I said that because i thought he was referring to a fresh cocoa bean (just removed from a cocoa pod) as shown in the picture above .
Due to the sweet juicy taste of a fresh cocoa bean, some people often suck the beans found in a cocoa pod and even regard cocoa (cocoa beans) as a fruit due to its sweet juicy taste. But is cocoa a fruit?. The sweet juicy or candy like taste of a fresh cocoa bean qualifies cocoa to be also called a fruit but due to the fact that cocoa isn,t primarily sold or consumed as a fruit or cultivated to be sold as a fruit so many people don,t regard cocoa as a fruit. The cocoa beans that are removed from the cocoa pods are fermented and dried. its the dried cocoa beans that are put in sacks and sold.
I said no because i wasn,t one of those people who consume or regard cocoa as a fruit. Since the day i was unable to eat for 2 days due too much sucking of cocoa beans which dye my teech, i decided never to suck a cocoa bean again. In facts just the mere thought of sucking a cocoa bean or seeing somebody sucking a cocoa bean, disturbs me.
After boldly saying that i don,t like cocoa,my father said, do you love Mambo? I quickly said yes i do!. For those of you who don,t know what Mambo is, Mambo is a popular bar of chocolate that,s sold for 100frs in Cameroon. Almost every grocery store in Cameroon sells Mambo. When i was a kid i used to consume atleast 5 bars of chocolate everyday. In otherwords i was a chocoholic. However after toothache thought me the hardway that too much Chocolate isn,t good, i decided to stop.
My dad said again, don,t you use cocoa butter?,dont you love candies, don,t you love cakes and biscuits? i said yessir! and asked him: why are you asking me all these questions? he said those are all cocoa products. He said without cocoa there will be no Mambo (chocolate bars) in any grocery store around the world and you will never use cocoa butter again. For those of you who don,t know what Cocoa butter is, Cocoa butter was the standard body lotion in my area during the 80’s. If you were born during that period in my area then Cocoa butter needs no introduction.
There was an African anology that my dad gave me that really helped me to clearly understand the use of cocoa. I still perfectly remember that analogy till today.Infact i also use it to teach people who still don,t know what cocoa is used for.
He said cocoa is to Chocolate and Cocoa butter as Cassava is to Garri and Fufu. So you have indirectly been consuming cocoa. He said everyday you consume atleast 100 cocoa beans (40 cocoa pods). Each cocoa pod contains 8 cocoa beans and about 3 cocoa pods (24 beans) is used to produce a bar of chocolate.
To cut a long story short, my dad made me to understand that i was a heavy consumer of cocoa and a reason why the demand for cocoa in the world will always be high.
The question what is cocoa used for? may seem like a very simple question or a question that almost everybody knows the answer but it isn,t as simple as you thought. Maybe you were typing the keyword “what is cocoa used for” in to the Google search bar, hoping that nobody sees you trying to find out the answer to a question that even the infant next door can quickly tell you the answer.Lol! you are not alone. So feel free to ask this question even in public..
It will surprise you to know that majority of the heavy producers of cocoa don,t even know what chocolate is or taste like and the heavy consumers of Chocolate and chocolate products don,t know what a cocoa pod looks like.
When Richard Quest; a CNN journalist visited the cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast (Cote Di voire); the world largest exporter of Cocoa, he was so surprised when he asked the cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast if they have ever tasted Chocolate and they all said no. So he gave each of them a bar of chocolate. The farmers tasted it and said it tasted good. From the looks of their faces, it seems they wanted more. Richard Quest then told them that, “that is your cocoa”.
That was the first time those cocoa farmers were consuming a cocoa product or became aware of one of the uses of cocoa. It will surprised you to know that all the cocoa farmers that Richard Quest met with in Ivory Coast were all elderly people (not less than 60yrs old). They have been producing cocoa all their whole life without bothering to know what cocoa is used for or what makes the demand for cocoa very high.
Ok enough of all this TALKING TALKING TALKING. Let me give you the answer to the above question so that you don,t get embarassed by a kid some day. But first!,you have to promise me one thing. Promise me that you won’t salivate.
What Is Cocoa Used For?
- The most popular use of cocoa, is in the production of Chocolate and Chocolate is an ingredient in hundreds of products (cakes, biscuits, candies etc).
- Cocoa is used in the manufacture of cocoa butter.
- Cocoa used to make Tapioca.