How can the best chocolate in the world get better?

Cocoa is the main ingredient in the world’s best desserts. The best chocolate is produced on the island of Madagascar; It follows a modern approach to cocoa production, which offers many benefits to the unique ecosystem of this island nation, contributing to the protection of endangered lemurs. The agricultural practice of growing staple rice in Madagascar affects the land and the creatures that live on it. In addition, some types of cacao cannot tolerate heat; Thus, fruit trees and hardwoods are mixed with cocoa trees to create shade, and this method is called “forestry”. “Agroforestry motivates people to protect forests and restore land by reforesting instead of clearing,” says Salhuri Sualwarivilwa, USAID’s Madagascar Environment Officer.

  • Malagasy workers in the Ambanga region of Madagascar peel the fruit of the cocoa tree to extract the seeds used in chocolate production. Photo: Gianluigi Guercia, AFP/Getty Images

Sustainability of chocolate
Cocoa has anti-inflammatory properties The human body influences health practices globally, but the rapid growth of the chocolate industry, set to reach $46 billion in 2021, has led to deforestation in some places, eliminating biodiversity and contributing to climate change by emitting high levels of carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere A 200-gram bar of dark chocolate made from cacao trees from deforested rainforests could contribute as much carbon dioxide as a five-kilometer car, according to the World Resources Institute. A number of chocolate makers are getting involved in sustainability, such as the organic chocolate company Beyond Good, which works directly with 150 cocoa farmers in Madagascar to show them the latest “agroforestry” practices in terms of choosing the right trees to provide shade and confirm the soil for the various varieties that help them thrive Increased chances of survival for endangered lemurs, as ringed lemurs have declined by at least 95 percent since 2000. “As one of the largest buyers of cocoa worldwide, we have a responsibility to help make a positive, long-term impact by supporting farmers and communities in our supply chain.”

The return of the lemur
In Madagascar, we passed by women who were carrying Red and bright yellow costumes, and selling fruits and vegetables under wooden huts on our way to the cacao plantation, which consists of small yards covered with dried and fermented cacao seeds on their way to becoming chocolate. The non-stop approach to farming is evident in the endless sequence. Some cocoa plantations that are not familiar with modern farming practices may have young trees that produce little fruit. This huge island nation is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, but it has lost 25 percent of its tree cover since 2000, primarily due to the production of firewood and charcoal. In addition, continued deforestation will worsen erosion in the northern part of the island, where climate change will lead to an increase in hurricanes and heavy rainfall.

  • How can the best chocolate in the world get better?
    An Indri lemur, one of the largest species of endangered lemur, clings to a tree trunk in a national park in Madagascar. Photo: Adriane, Ohanesian, Nat Geo Image Collection

At the Ampanga farm owned by fourth-generation farmer Andrianarison Lalatiana, the sour smell of fermented cacao wine, made from a mixture of cabbage and vinegar strong enough to burn your sinuses, permeates. His farm is one of the “forest farms” where researchers from Bristol Zoo in the UK first saw lemurs in banana and mango trees, tall forests and vanilla pods. Lalatiana learns how to increase the amount of cocoa production, so that he can earn just enough to feed his family. Given the environment it lives in, lemurs were thought to be rodents, and many Madagascans still do, but now Lalatiana goes looking for them every night. “I have a responsibility to make sure that the lemurs live here safely and that we can understand them better,” he says.

  • How can the best chocolate in the world get better?
    This cocoa, from the organic farm Akesson, is classified as one of the best in the world. Photo: Bernd Jonkmanns, laif/Redux

Healthy chocolate
Ancient Central America described chocolate It’s a divine beverage, and now studies show that cacao in its raw, bitter state, with no processing or added sugar, can prevent cancer, help lower blood pressure, and improve memory. Raw cocoa is rich in antioxidants and chemicals called flavonoids. Chocolate is breaking into the category of health products, even promising spiritual awakening in the modern rituals of the Mayan and Aztec cocoa farmers. With the growing popularity of the cacao tree, more chocolate brands are considering implementing sustainable and ethical farming practices, as well as several new efforts such as the Cocoa and Forest initiative and the International Accountability Framework, as these organizations promote lemur habitat conservation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *