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|Cacao beans: victims of El Niño.||According to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), the world’s current cocoa shortfall is now 55% larger than previously thought, due to adverse weather conditions that caused crop reductions over the 2006/2007 season. The global production deficit is now estimated at 242,000 tonnes. Severe dry and windy conditions affected Africa at the end of 2006, and output declined 10% (Africa supplies 70% of the world’s cacao). Over the same period, El Niño temperature fluctuations led to crop declines of 8% in the Asia and Oceania region, and 6% in the Americas.|
|However, the ICCO states that demand has not decreased and remains at a record high. World cacao consumption has grown on average 3.8% each year over the last five years, and 2.5% over the 2006/07 season. This demand, combined with moves by some manufacturers to stocking up on cacao, has led to average price increases of 12%. Expect to see prices reflected in everything from bars to cocoa powder to baked goods.|