Chocolate may be in danger of becoming extinct by the middle of this century. Pests and fungal diseases have been found in cacao trees that may endanger the crop’s survival.
In addition, cacao is also under attack by global warming. Trees grow in a very small area about 20° north and south of the equator, where humidity and temperatures are the same all year round. By 2050 rising temperatures and drier weather will push cacao production up into mountainous areas, many of which are home to wild animals.
Scientists from the University of California are trying to save the plant. Together with researchers from the American food company Mars, they are trying to grow cacao seeds that are more resistant and can grow at higher altitudes.
Most of the world’s cacao production comes from two countries in western Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. These areas may not be suitable for cacao production in the decades to come. Millions of farmers depend on cacao for a living.
- altitude = how high up something is
- cacao = seeds from which chocolate is made
- decade = ten years
- endanger = to be a threat to something
- equator = line around the middle of the earth
- extinct = die out; not exist anymore
- century = a hundred years
- depend on = need
- fungal disease= disease caused by a simple plant that has no leaves and grows in the ground or on other plants; mushrooms are a type of fungus
- global warming = an increase in the world’s temperatures caused by growing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere
- humidity = the amount of water that is in the air
- in addition = also
- mountainous = in the mountains
- pest = a small animal or insect that can destroy crops and plants
- researcher = person who studies a topic in order to find out more about it
- resistant = here: it cannot be destroyed or damaged
- rise = to go up
- scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
- seed = small hard object from produced by plants, from which a new plant can grow
- suitable = here: to be the ideal place to grow something
- survival = existence ; staying alive
- under attack = to be attacked by something