Côte d’Ivoire is renowned for the quality of its cocoa beans with its production leading the rest of the world by over half a million tonnes. However the chocolate industry is one which encourages deforestation and as such poses a great threat to the environment. According to reports of the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), cocoa beans and its by-products accounted for a percentage upwards of forty in export values in 2015.
In the wake of this crisis owing to a downturn in the market as well as associated environmental costs, the country has lost the majority of its arable land, with as little as 4% left. If this continues, forecasts show that Ivory Coast will lose its entire rainforest by 2030.
Ivorian Chocolatier Dana Mroueh is determined to take meaningful steps in putting a stop to this trend. Her company Mon Choco produces eco-friendly organic chocolate, by using a bike to grind cocoa beans into a paste before it is converted into candies and chocolate bars.
Speaking to a journalist, Mroueh said that the use of the bicycle was geared towards having the least impact on the environment by using minimal electricity. They also reuse the shell of the cocoa, turning it into recycled paper.
The secret to Mon Choco’s unique taste lies in the fact that the beans are not roasted and have no added additives, which highlights the authentic taste of the raw bean, this is according to Dana Mroueh.
According to industry reports however, Mon Choco and other initiatives of the kind are breaking ground in Ivory Coast, only represent a niche market, producing only 5,000 tonnes of beans per year, when compared with the country’s haul of 2 million tonnes annually.