If you clicked, it’s probably because you saw the title and thought, “what do Ebola and chocolate have in common?”
Nothing, really. But chocolate could end up being one of the deadly virus’ victims.
Despite a few cases popping up in Texas, it’s unlikely that Ebola will directly affect you if you’re reading this from anywhere but West Africa. However, according to Politico, it could indirectly affect you by pretty much destroying the world’s chocolate supply.
Why? Because the Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cacao (the backbone of chocolate) and it has just closed its borders with Liberia and Guinea, vastly reducing the chocolate industry’s workforce. Oh, and harvest season is starting, so without any workers to pick cacao beans, this literally couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
The Ivory Coast is still Ebola-free, and in the end, that’s more important than chocolate prices going up.
Oh, did we forget to mention? Chocolate prices are probably going up. The Ebola and chocolate connection isn’t one that will infect your body, but rather, your wallet.
Thus far, more than 8,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola, 4,000 of which have died in West Africa.
Tim McCoy of the World Cocoa Foundation (yes, there is such a thing) said that while the Ivory Coast remains Ebola-free, he’s seen his colleagues in the area act proactively to safeguard themselves. “Going into meetings where … you always shake hands and often times, with men and women, you do the cheek kiss thing … They weren’t doing that,” he said.
But one agricultural official is predicting a full-on Ebola and chocolate crisis. He said “we’ve missed several aspects of the planting season for crops over the last several months. The next crop will not be ready. We won’t have one and we see a food crisis already.”