This could be the start of a DAMMIT JANET! tradition. Last year we blogged about cruelty-free chocolate.
It appears that the production of cocoa is threatened. The cultivation of cocoa trees require specific growing conditions and it leaves the soil leached of nutrients after 20 years or so. As well, monoculture practices and the reliance upon one type of tree that yields large crops has made it vulnerable to disease. A deadly fungus is decimating farms in central and south America. A virus spread by insects is destroying those in western Africa.
As with most agricultural practices, the challenge comes down to rotating crops and developing hybrids that have the most desirable and disease-resistant traits. Fair trade cocoa co-ops need the support and funding that will allow them to train specialists and to develop the resources necessary to sustain development.
So, choose delicious, flavourful fair-trade chocolate that's not sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Your health will benefit, as will the farmers' co-operatives.