WEST AFRICA —Chocolate consumers are likely to face a surge in chocolate candy prices this Easter amid the worst supply deficit in decades.  

This comes as cocoa prices hit a record high of $10,080 per metric ton on Tuesday, March 26th, before slightly retracting to settle at $9,622. 

This surge reflects a staggering increase of more than triple the cost over the past year, with a remarkable 129% rise recorded in 2024 alone. 

This recent spike in cocoa prices has been fueled by reports from West Africa, where most cocoa plants in Ivory Coast and Ghana have stopped or reduced processing due to challenges in cocoa bean procurement.  

Additionally, heavy rainfall and the rampant spread of black pod disease in these regions, as highlighted in a November report by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), have severely hampered farming activities. 

“As these two leading producing countries supply about two-thirds of global cocoa beans, any change in their production tends to have a significant impact on the cocoa market,” the ICCO said. 

According to this report, most farmers also rely on aging cocoa trees, most of which have surpassed their peak productivity – with no significant replanting efforts since the early 2000s, things are only going to get worse from here.  

Consequently, cocoa farmers in these regions are increasingly abandoning cocoa cultivation in favor of more lucrative crops like rubber, claiming that they are not reaping the benefits of the current price rally. 

According to Paul Joules, a commodities analyst at Rabobank, large companies were able to mitigate the effects of rising prices last year, thanks to hedging strategies. 

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for these companies to continue absorbing the escalating costs. 

For instance, chocolate giant Hershey is already experiencing flat earnings projections for the year. 

The company’s stock has also plummeted approximately 22% over the past 12 months, while Nestle’s Switzerland-listed shares have also witnessed a decline of about 13% during the same period. 

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