Price of Easter Eggs goes up due to Climate Change’s impact on Crops

Researchers have found that climate change is a significant factor contributing to the potential increase in the cost of your chocolate Easter egg this year.

Chocolate production has been severely impacted by a recent humid heatwave in West Africa, resulting in significantly reduced yields.
According to experts, the likelihood of extreme heat has been significantly increased due to human-induced climate change.
Some popular eggs have seen a significant increase in price, according to Which?.
Due to the recent heatwave, the cocoa shortage has caused prices to skyrocket to nearly $8,500 (£6,700) per tonne this week.

Cocoa trees are highly susceptible to shifts in the weather patterns. They thrive within a specific range of approximately 20 degrees latitude around the Equator.
A significant portion of global production is centered in West Africa. In 2023, the UK imported a significant amount of cocoa beans from Ivory Coast and Ghana, totaling £127m in value. Ivory Coast was the primary source, providing 85% of the UK’s cocoa beans.
Unfortunately, the West Africa region has been experiencing severe drought conditions since February of this year.
Record-breaking temperatures exceeding 40C have led to this situation, affecting countries such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

An Easter egg is being worked on by a chocolate artisan

The World Weather Attribution group, based at Imperial College London, discovered that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions greatly increased the likelihood of these unusually high temperatures.
A recent study revealed that if global fossil fuel consumption is not promptly reduced, West Africa will face recurring heatwaves at an alarming frequency of approximately every two years.

“According to one of the authors of the study, Izadine Pinto from the University of Cape Town, there were reports from farmers in Ivory Coast about the impact of heat on the cocoa crop,”
According to him, the soaring temperatures caused a faster evaporation rate, resulting in the crops lacking adequate moisture.

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El Niño also had an impact on the crops.
This phenomenon occurs periodically, causing variations in weather patterns in the tropical Pacific. As a result, global temperatures rise and certain regions may experience severe weather conditions. There has been a powerful El Niño in effect since last June.

According to Ben Clarke, an expert on extreme weather at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College, global warming is making the challenges faced by farmers during El Niño years even more difficult.
“In many regions, the natural challenge is being multiplied by climate change driven by fossil fuel use.” According to Mr. Clarke, it has a significant impact on the environment, leading to more severe conditions, damaging crops, and increasing food prices for everyone.

There are other factors that are impacting cocoa growers, not just the drought. Ivory Coast and Ghana have both experienced a severe onslaught of extreme weather.

Women in Ivory Coast are engaged in the important task of sorting cocoa beans

Last December, both countries were hit by heavy rainfall. The total precipitation in West Africa exceeded the 30-year average for this time of year by more than double.
Due to the wet and humid conditions, a fungal infection known as black pod disease thrived, causing the cocoa beans on the trees to rot.

The outcome of these various extreme events has had a consistent impact – the cost of cocoa has significantly increased, surpassing three times its value compared to this time last year, and doubling in just the past three months.
Chocolate makers usually purchase beans well in advance, but the surging prices are now starting to impact the prices in stores.

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“Lots of players who have already announced price increases. We are also part of that group,” Martin Hug, of chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli told city analysts earlier this month.

In February, Mondelez, the company that owns the Cadbury brand, and the American chocolate maker Hershey expressed concerns about the potential impact of increasing cocoa prices on the cost of chocolate.
The farmers who grow the cocoa crops are greatly affected by these price fluctuations.
There are approximately two million smallholder farmers in the West African cocoa belt who heavily depend on this labor-intensive crop as their primary source of income.

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