Climate Change Impacting Easter Egg Prices


Climate change is being cited as a significant factor contributing to the rise in prices of chocolate Easter eggs this year, with researchers highlighting the adverse effects on cocoa crops.

The majority of chocolate production relies on cocoa beans grown in West Africa, where a recent humid heatwave has severely impacted yields. Experts attribute this extreme weather event to human-induced climate change, making such occurrences ten times more likely.

According to Which?, a consumer advocacy group, prices of some popular Easter eggs have surged by 50% or more. The shortage of cocoa resulting from the heatwave has driven cocoa prices to nearly $8,500 (£6,700) per tonne.

Cocoa trees are highly susceptible to climate variations, with production mainly concentrated in West Africa. Severe drought conditions since February, coupled with record-breaking temperatures exceeding 40°C, have devastated cocoa crops in countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana.

A study by the World Weather Attribution group has linked these extreme temperatures to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Unless global efforts to reduce fossil fuel use are expedited, similar heatwaves are projected to occur in West Africa approximately every two years.

The high temperatures accelerated evaporation rates, depriving cocoa crops of essential moisture, and exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon. Furthermore, intense rains in December led to the proliferation of black pod disease, further damaging cocoa crops.

The resulting surge in cocoa prices has impacted chocolate manufacturers, with many already announcing price increases. Lindt & Spruengli and Mondelez, the owner of the Cadbury brand, are among those affected by rising cocoa prices.

However, it is the smallholder farmers in West Africa who bear the brunt of these price fluctuations, as cocoa cultivation constitutes a significant portion of their income. Analysts emphasize the need for wealthy countries like the UK to provide financial and technical support to help these farmers adapt to climate change and safeguard their livelihoods. As climate change continues to worsen, additional support will be crucial to ensure a stable supply of cocoa beans into the future.





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