While the top 10 cacao producing countries grow over eighty percent of the world’s cacao, as of 2019 there are more than fifty countries growing cacao in some capacity (more than 1MT of dried cacao annually). Naming what countries grow cacao is simple, but the history and cultures behind those names is complex. Even though chocolate is largely manufactured in Europe and North America, cacao is largely grown in Africa and Central & South America. Cacao can be grown in humid climates within 25 degrees of the equator, so it can’t grow in Europe at all, with the exception of Spain’s Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa.
In recent years, many national governments have begun investing in the cacao industry, either in local farmers (as in the Philippines) or in those of a nearby country (as in New Zealand’s involvement in Timor-Leste). With the explosion of the craft chocolate movement, some farmers are now growing cacao aimed at a high-end market. In some countries which grow cacao, there’s only one producer buying up cacao from local farmers or growing it on a single plantation.
Other cacao-growing countries have only entered the market in the last several years. Some are working to start a local cacao industry and add value to existing farms, while others aim to eradicate an existing industry, likebetel nuts in Taiwan or cocaine production in Peru.
Source. The top 10 cacao producers in each area are marked with an asterisk.
Source. The top 10 cacao producers are marked with an asterisk.