Cocoa is a crop that mostly thrives in low-tropical regions such as western Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia (Franzen & Mulder, 2007). The harvest is a source of income for many people around the globe. The current rising consumption of cocoa products makes it suitable for farmers to diversify their growing methods. The cocoa bean dates back to more than 1400 hundred years when Incas and Aztecs used the bean as currency (Shafi, Reshi, & Bashir, 2018). The cocoa bean evolved into a large-scale growing and gained huge familiarity across many European nations. The cocoa bean has several uses, mainly because it can stimulate the body and provide sufficient energy to carry out daily tasks. For instance, the cocoa bean is responsible for the production of chocolate. Chocolate contains essential antioxidants that help the body eliminate the possible development of cancer or heart diseases (Shafi et al., 2018).
The native home for the cocoa bean is Mesoamerica, in which several cultures have been practicing the act of planting cocoa over the years. The Mesoamerica cultures include Mexico and Guatemala (Shafi et al., 2018). These two countries have a rich history of producing and rearing cocoa beans over very many years. The natives have been using the cocoa bean to make a kind of beverage drink. The “bitter water” is the name of the beverage drink, and it has a somewhat bitter taste. The cocoa bean owes its origin to the Mesoamerican cultures and further spreads to Europe and many other parts of the world.
The cocoa bean has several interesting biological and ecological aspects about its breeding and cultivations. For instance, the cocoa bean is very sensitive to the climatic conditions of a region. The main climatic factors that determine the quality of cocoa include rainfall, temperature, and sunshine (Adeniyi & Ogunsola, 2014). Another peculiar ecological factor about cocoa is its demand for good shade. Cocoa will only thrive well in areas with a suitable shade to prevent the cocoa from experiencing unnecessary intense sunshine. However, many changes are taking place in how cocoa is adjusting to changes in climate. Farmers of cocoa currently can plant cocoa beans out in the open fields since there are available techniques to handle the effects of sunshine.
The cocoa bean is a native plant that dates back to more than 1400 years ago. Nevertheless, its domestication dates back to the Mesoamerican tribes used to make a particular beverage out of the cocoa bean. The cocoa bean is undergoing specific biological engineering to enable it to obtain desirable characteristics. For instance, the engineering of the cocoa bean made it possible for farmers to carry out the cultivation of the crop even in open fields without any shades. Plant breeders are also working on several attempts to breed the cocoa varieties to improve their disease resistance capabilities (Nelson & Galvez, 2000). In particular, this activity entails breeding various cocoa varieties that will enhance resistance to pests and withstand changes in environmental conditions.
The economic history of cocoa beans dates back to the period when people used the bean as currency. The cocoa bean gained lots of value, and people used it as a currency in transacting businesses. The growing demand for chocolates around the globe is pushing the need for cocoa beans worldwide. In particular, the current production of cocoa stands at four million tonnes, but the rise in demand for chocolate makes this supply short of the order (Shafi et al., 2018). Cocoa growing has a significant impact on certain parts of the world. In Nigeria, for instance, cocoa is the leading non-oil foreign exchange earner (Adeniyi & Ogunsola, 2014). The fair trade-in cocoa within Ecuador tends to improve the financial well-being of farmers through the introduction of fair prices and to avail credits to farmers.
Cocoa has specific medicinal properties that enable it to promote good health among its users (Orole, Adejumo, & Orole, 2016). Chocolate, which is a product of cocoa, contains both antioxidant and flavonoids compounds. These two compounds are vital in the fight against cancer and heart complications. Likewise, an inter-breed of cocoa with other species provides medicinal value to the consumers (Franzen & Mulder, 2007). The cocoa bean has a rich history as a medicinal product over the past years. For instance, the “bitter water” beverage relieved consumers of certain complications and fostered healthy living. Cocoa had a therapeutic role in treating Alzheimer’s disease (Shafi et al., 2018). In particular, this disorder had tremendous effects on individuals' mental well-being, and cocoa provided for a component called lavado that treats the disease.
Cocoa has specific effects on sustainability due to its impact on natural resources available for people. Sustainability involves a wise utilization of resources that ensure that help will be available even to upcoming generations. Cocoa growing and cultivation require adequate land allocation, which could interfere with other agricultural activities (Neale, 2016). Consequently, cocoa-growing relies on rainfall, leading to high demand for water in the absence of rain. In particular, this could have a devastating effect on water availability for use in other sectors. The growth of cocoa has an association with social costs in a variety of ways. Plantation workers contribute to the majority of social expenses in growing cocoa because they are likely to contribute to a rise in the price of cultivating and growing cocoa.
In conclusion, the above discussion indicates that the cocoa bean is an essential crop across the globe. The cocoa bean dates back to approximately 1400 years ago when the Mesoamerican cultures used the crop as currency. The economic importance of cocoa grew over the years to include the contribution of revenues to many countries. The cocoa bean has specific medicinal purposes, such as treating cancer and medication for Alzheimer’s disease. The governments of countries that grow cocoa should implement favorable policies to encourage farmers to cultivate cocoa.
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Adeniyi, O. R., & Ogunsola, G. O. (2014). Cocoa production and related social-economic and climate factors: A case study of Ayedire local government area of Osun State, Nigeria. Agricultural Science, 2(4), 1-13.
Franzen, M., & Mulder, M. B. (2007). Ecological, economic, and social perspectives on cocoa production worldwide. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16(13), 3835-3849.
Neale, B. (2016). Evaluating the true cost of cocoa production & the viability of Mondelēz International’s Farm of the Future model. Retrieved from https://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/11902/Master%27s%20Project_Brittany%20Neale.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Nelson, V. & Galvez, M. (2000). Social Impact of Ethical and Conventional Cocoa Trading on Forest-Dependent People in Ecuador.
Orole, O. O., Adejumo, T. O., & Orole, R. T. (2016). Antifungal Activity of Nine Medicinal Plants against Aspergillus species from Cocoa Beans (Theobroma cacao). Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, 2, 1-11.
Shafi, F., Reshi, M., & Bashir, I. (2018). CHOCOLATE PROCESSING. International Journal of Biological Research, 8(3),408-419.