There are four main varieties of the cacao plant: forastero, criollo, trinitario, and nacional. Both the criollo and forastero varieties originated in the Amazon basin, but leading the way in global cocoa production is the West African country Cote d'Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast. Cote d'Ivoire has always been rated among the top cocoa producing countries and largest cocoa exporters in the world. Most people know there is no such thing as a European cocoa industry; most of Sweden’s chocolate comes from the West African nation of Ghana that is currently building infrastructure to process and sell its own cocoa directly to the world that could bring them more than 50 billion in global sales. If the Ivory coast follows suit this could mean a radical economic change in the region for a significant portion of the population creating a fiscal boom and enlarged middle class.
Ghana and Ivory Coast produce nearly two-thirds of the global supply of cocoa, and West Africa has over two million cocoa farmers. In 2021 these governments decided to act to improve their leverage in the chocolate industry. In July, Ghana and Ivory Coast unilaterally announced a fixed premium of $400 a ton over the benchmark futures price from October 2020. “If you look at OPEC, they are only controlling about 30% to 40% of the global oil supply and they control prices,” says Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s vice president, referring to the oil cartel. “If they have OPEC, we can have COPEC.”
Ghana is seeing an explosion of Ghanaiian owned products like Brown Gold Cocoa which is manufactured by Hords Limited from the Republic of Ghana, and is distributed in the EU by Fula Foods Ltd. It is a natural and delicious cocoa powder with a long-standing heritage, which is testament to its popularity in Ghana. The cocoa powder has been grown in the same, traditional manner since the mid-19th century, and is called Brown Gold for a good reason. For many generations of Ghanaians, growing cocoa has been the major route to financial independence. Cocoa remains the only means of sustaining many small Ghanaian communities, and continues to be farmed in the traditional manner in family held farms. The fact that Brown Gold cocoa is grown on small farms means the communities benefit from product sales. Sales of Brown Gold are contributing towards the renovation of a school in the village of Akomadan in the Ashanti region of Ghana.Many African American investors are looking at putting their money behind companies like this that have the potential to reach global markets.
Cocoa is currently experiencing a surge in popularity, as consumers are increasingly opting for a relaxing cup of hot chocolate to start the work day or to mark the end of a busy day, Cocoa is prized specifically for its health benefits. Several studies, which show that cocoa can have beneficial effects for heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, stress and even cancer.
Cocoa powder can help lower blood pressure by improving nitric oxide levels in the blood. This is due to the presence of flavanols, which can enhance the function of your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. The flavanol content between 30 to 1,218 mg in cocoa can significantly reduce blood pressure with an average of 2 mmHg Chocolate comes from Theobroma cacao, the scientific name for the cacao tree. A small tree native to the Amazon Basin, the cacao tree grows throughout the tropics, mostly in Africa.
The fleshy fruit of the cacao tree contains brown seeds called cacao. Fermenting and roasting cacao is the first step in making chocolate. People mash the seeds into a paste called chocolate liqueur which they then treat with heat to create cocoa. Cocoa is the key ingredient in most chocolate products.Cold-pressing unroasted cacao makes raw cacao, which has gained a reputation as a “superfood” due to its high amount of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Raw cacao on its own tastes very bitter, so it is often made into a powder that can be added to other foods.A specific flavanol in cacao called epicatechin may help with some parts of brain health, including cognition, blood flow, and risk of dementia. Studies show that eating this may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cocoa has been used for its health benefits for centuries by various ethnic groups. The Incas considered it the drink of the gods! In West Africa, Cocoa is a specialty. Companies like Flowers and Moondust are sending their high quality cocoa infused African products to high end boutiques across the globe. Flowers & Moondust is an African holistic wellness company that offers high quality African superfoods and products. F&M has found much success because it is dedicated to recentering the power of African ancestral healing magic, empowering local African communities and encouraging holistic wellness journeys flowers & Moondust aims to reconnect, redefine and recenter holistic African ways of living in hopes that more people take the path of holistic wellness guided by our African ancestors. All their products are ethically sourced or handmade with love by local farmers and artisans who are both passionate and knowledgeable about their craft.