Ebola Spread Threatens Global Chocolate Market

With a large portion of the world’s cacao supply originating in countries near the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, chocolate supplies could be at risk due to lack of workers to pick the beans.

Cacao is the raw ingredient in chocolate, and most of it is grown in Ivory Coast, which borders Liberia and Guinea. The Ebola outbreak has forced Ivory Coast to shut down those borders, keeping migrant workers from those countries out of the fields.

A shortage of cacao could raise prices even higher, Politico reports. The industry already has seen price increases since May 2013 based on supply-and-demand, ABC News reported.

The World Cocoa Foundation is heading up efforts to fight the virus in Africa, seeking sizable donations from its members, including Nestle and Mars, Politico reported. An announcement on that effort to get money to the Red Cross and Caritas Internationalis is expected Wednesday at the group’s annual meeting in Copenhagen.